Economical and social situation
Lithuania is situated in the South of the three Baltic countries. It has a population of 2.9 million people. Most of the population is Lithuanian, with two main minorities: 7% of Polish and 5% of Russian.
Nowadays, 19% of the Lithuanian population is under 18. Since 1991, Lithuania’s political and social situation has changed a lot. For the last 20 years, successive political, social and economic changes have threatened children. Today, 1600 families and 2700 children live in difficult situation because of several reasons (unemployment of their parents, poverty, violence, alcoholism).
Social situation: Lithuania was occupied by USSR until 1991. At that time, some children were wandering on the streets; there were no shelters for them. For 20 years, the country has evolved socially and thanks to the State and charities, there are no more children living on the streets. Yet, new problems have appeared. A lot of children are orphans or separated from their families because of alcoholism or violence. Lithuania suffers also from corruption, organized crime (its homicide rate is the highest in Europe) and emigration (more than 180,000 people have left the country, and they sometimes leave their children behind).
Economical situation: 2008 economic crisis has seriously affected Lithuania as the GDP went down 15% in 2009. At the same time, the unemployment rate kept on increasing. Today, 11% of Lithuanian are unemployed. The minimum wage in Lithuania is 300€ gross per month. People living in the countryside are more likely to live in poverty.