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7 June 2020 - News


Thursday 1 June 2017

One quarter of the world's children are being denied a childhood, a new report from Save the Children has revealed. The report includes a global index ranking the places where childhood is most and least threatened. 

Launched to coincide with International Children's Day, the Stolen Childhoods reporthas found that at least 700 million children—and possibly hundreds of millions more—have had the promise of a full childhood brought to an early end.

The reasons vary from extreme violence and conflict, often driving families from their homes; early marriage and pregnancy; child labour, poor health and not being able to go to school.

The index finds that childhoods in West and Central Africa are most threatened. Niger is ranked the lowest, followed by Angola, Mali, Central African Republic, and Somalia. The countries where childhood is the least threatened—Norway, Slovenia, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden—are all located in Europe.

Michele Cecere, Save the Children’s Ukraine Country Representative, said: “It is unacceptable that in 2017, millions of children around the world – including about one million Ukrainian children – still do not have their right to be safe, learn, grow and play. We must, and we can, do better than this. Ukraine is ranked 39 out of 172 in the report, but could be higher if not for hundreds of thousands of children being forcibly displaced, having their education disrupted, and having their childhood brought to an end by the conflict.”

Since the conflict started in 2014 in Ukraine, children and adults have been forced to flee their homes. For internally displaced people, unemployment is high and parents are struggling to provide for their children including finding safe accommodation, access to health and other basic services, and in some cases even access to regular schooling. At least 648,000 pupils and teachers in more than 3,400 education facilities across the contact line continue to suffer from the conflict and attacks on schools. These children are likely to be affected for many years to come due to the psychological impact of exposure to ongoing violence. More than 200,000 children in Donetsk and Luhansk regions require psychosocial support and many are still living in extremely stressful circumstances. . Adapting to the new environment, finding new schools and getting acceptance by the hosting community are just some of the issues that children have to deal with in Eastern Ukraine.


Globally the report also found that:

  • Every day, more than 16,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday, the vast majority from preventable causes
  • About one quarter of all children under five (156 million) have their physical growth and mental development stunted as a result of malnutrition
  • One in six school-aged children worldwide is currently out of school
  • Conflict has forced nearly one child in 80 from their homes
  • 168 million children in the world are involved in child labour -- 85 million in hazardous work -- which is more than all the children living in Europe (138 million)
  • One girl under 15 is married every seven seconds
  • Every two seconds, a girl gives birth

"In 2015, the world made a promise that by 2030, all children be would be in school, protected, and healthy, regardless of who they are, and where they live. Although this is an ambitious target, it's within reach if governments invest in all children to guarantee they have the full childhood they deserve," added Michele Cecere.

“Save the Children is helping children in Ukraine to survive the crisis by providing them with safe and protective environments, and access to quality education, food, warm clothes and shelter,” he said.

See the report here:   

See how Save the Children is helping children in Ukraine here:

Notes to editors: 

  • A child is defined as someone under the age of 18, as per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • An estimated 734 million children are missing out on childhood (i.e., they have experienced one or more 'ender' events). 
  • This number includes three distinct groups of children: children aged 0-17 who have died (159 million), children aged 0-5 who are stunted (186 million) and children 6-17 who are out of primary or secondary school (263 million). It also includes a subset of child refugees and child IDPs (14 million) and a subset of child labourers (112 million) who aren't likely to be already accounted for in the other groups. 
  • To reach this number, a series of reasonable assumptions were made based on evidence of overlap between these groups of children.
  • Avoiding the problem of double counting leads to undercounting the number of children missing out on childhood. This figure does not, for example, include stunted school-age children who are in school, young wives or mothers who are in school or children who have witnessed or survived extreme violence.