Almost 18 million children in the EU were at risk of poverty before the pandemic. With the crisis resulting from the pandemic, this problem is becoming more acute. And experiencing childhood poverty can have lifelong consequences. We must act now if we want to prevent these consequences, calls the Eurochild campaign #CanWeBelieveInYou. The initiative is with the idea of raising awareness at the national level about the importance of investing in children as a priority. The campaign clarifies what the European Child Guarantee means in the national context and how it can bring about change for children and families.
“For years, adults have been arguing over children’s rights. You have to stop arguing and hear our voice”, the video said. Bulgarian children ask if they have any rights at all. And how can they feel safe at school and at home without these rights? How to feel equal and supported?
“The pandemic deprives us of one of our most valuable rights – the right to education. And how can we reach our full potential when accessing school online is a daily struggle? “How can we resist abuse if we are left without a voice?”, the video asks.
The European guarantee for children has the potential to end poverty, violence and isolation, the message from our country emphasizes.
Bulgaria has one of the highest levels of child poverty in Europe. More than 400,000 children in Bulgaria live at risk of poverty and social exclusion. This is every third child! And this is a lasting trend in the last ten years!
“The country faces an unprecedented threat to children’s rights and democracy. Far-right extremists and religious groups use fake news to spread fear among parents and intimidate children’s rights activists. These disinformation campaigns hinder the establishment of long-term policies to tackle child poverty and, worse, challenge the human rights foundations of children”, the Eurochild campaign said. “The COVID-19 crisis has deepened inequalities in education. Cases of domestic violence have increased over the past year, putting even more pressure on the already weak child protection system.”
Child well-being is one of the topics carefully analyzed in the monitoring report of the National Children’s Network Annual Report “What is the Average Government Score for Childcare?” 2021. The assessment received by the state and institutions for their work in this area last year is an average of 3.19.
The decline in child welfare and the increase in child poverty in the country are due to serious structural problems and factors such as health and education status, unemployment levels, territorial distribution of the population, access to early childhood education and care services, lack of family-oriented approach and system integration, find out the Report.
Europe is committed to social justice
A Social Summit was held in Porto on 7 and 8 May, at which institutions and organizations pledged to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and to join forces for an inclusive, sustainable and fair economy.
In their strategic program 2019-2024, EU leaders stressed that the Pillar must be implemented in the Member States. In its resolutions on a Strong Social Europe for a Fair Transition and a Guarantee for the Child, the European Parliament emphasized the need for a shared commitment to the realization of the rights and principles of the Pillar.
In this context is the call for joint efforts to:
- Take measures to strengthen national social protection systems to ensure a dignified life for all;
- concentration in sectors, groups and territories with deep and long-lasting structural weaknesses;
- developing public policies that strengthen social cohesion, combat discrimination, promote equal opportunities for all, especially for dealing with children at risk of poverty, the elderly, people with disabilities, people with a migrant background, disadvantaged groups and minority groups and the homeless;
- promoting a comprehensive approach to tackling child poverty by prioritizing funding for children’s rights by integrating the Child Guarantee into all policy sectors
- stimulating investment in sustainable jobs and social support for their parents.
“Europe has made clear and firm commitments! Bulgarian politicians and government officials must finally take an interest in the present and future of our children. A comprehensive approach is needed to lift children out of poverty and children’s rights must become a priority”, said Mariana Pisarska of National Network for Children.