The Kyrgyz Republic is a young nation, where 2.1 million children consist of 36.5 per cent of the country’s population.
Child poverty remains a serious issue in Kyrgyzstan. Poverty is on rise (32.1 per cent) with children overrepresented in poverty statistics (40.5 per cent in 2015). Nearly 900,000 children in the Kyrgyz Republic live in poverty and continue to face material deprivation, poor access to quality services and protection, and vulnerability to disasters.
Poor children are deprived of access to quality public services of pre-school and school education, protection and health care, as well as malnutrition and violation of child right to harmonious and full development in early childhood. Poor children live mainly in rural areas, from the southern regions of the country, from families of three and more children and from families with no employed adults or with only one working adult.
Kyrgyzstan met the Millennium Development Goal 4: the mortality of children has decreased from 65 per 1000 livebirths in 1990 to 21 in 2015. More children from mothers living with HIV are born HIV-free: the mother-to-child transmission rate has fallen from 13.3 per cent in 2011 to 2.9 per cent in 2013. However, the maternal mortality ratio remains high.
Most children in Kyrgyzstan enter school without the required life skills and basic knowledge for their age, and therefore are unprepared to cope with the structured school environment. About 24 per cent of all children have access to pre-school activities, compared to 30 per cent in 1990. Many children do not have any books at home. The problem is further complicated by parents lacking the knowledge and skills for interacting effectively with their children in order to boost their child’s intellectual, cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.
Many children are separated from their families and are therefore deprived from the care of their parents or close relatives. Over 8,000 children live in residential care institutions, even though most of them have one or both parents. There are improvements in protecting children in contact with the law: the number of prison sentences imposed on juveniles was decreased by 84 per cent.
Exploitation, abuse and violence are considered to be widespread as a result of the increasing number of dysfunctional families and alcohol and substance abuse.