- Population: 9,577,552
- GDP Per Capita: $13,400
- Official languages: Belarusian, Russian
- Capital City: Minsk
A victim of both war and communism, Belarus has endured years of unrest. In 1991 Belarus claimed independence and in recent years significant steps have been made to enhance the performance of education, healthcare and social provision. Belarus has also profited from strong relations and favourable trade prices with Russia but its trade options remain limited, along with the job options for its population.
There are still many children who live in poverty and through our partnerships with local churches we delivered 208,431 shoeboxes last year alone. Many of the shoeboxes have gone to children who are affected by HIV and live in orphanages.
Bosnia - Herzegovina
- Population: 4,622,163
- GDP Per Capita: $6,600
- Official languages: Croatian, Serbian, Bosnia
- Capital City: Sarajevo
Bosnia – Herzegovina is in a difficult transitional stage as it recovers from years of war and moves from socialism to capitalism. Unemployment remains very high (43%) and it faces new financial struggles as much needed aid is withdrawn. It is often children who suffer most as their parents struggle to afford education fees, to feed them, and sometimes even to keep them.
We believe that every child is important, that’s why in the past year we sent 90,598 shoeboxes through Operation Christmas Child, letting them know they are loved.
- Population: 1,825,632
- GDP Per Capita: $2,500
- Official languages: Albanian, Serbian
- Capital City: Pristina
Kosova has one of the poorest populations in Europe. After years of ethnic conflicts and international sanctions, Kosova's economy has been severely damaged. Between 40-50% remain unemployed, and the nation's unresolved international status makes it hard to attract investment and loans to create new jobs. A weakened economy has led to a rise in black market activity and organised crime that perpetuates this cycle.
Through local churches we work to bring hope to a nation that faces so many struggles. Last year we sent 29,890 shoeboxes to children in need.
- Population: 661,807
- GDP Per Capita: $9,900
- Official languages: Serbian, Montenegrin
- Capital City: Podgorica
Montenegro became independent in 2006 and continues to make political and economical progress. However, 7% of the population remain below the poverty line and 14% are unemployed.
We provide hope to impoverished children by sending thousands of shoeboxes each year through Operation Christmas Child. Last year, we sent 20,462 gift-filled shoeboxes.
- Population: 21,904,551
- GDP Per Capita: $11,550
- Official language: Romanian
- Capital City: Bucharest
There is much to celebrate as Romania continues to recover from a harsh communist regime and the Cold War. Change is coming but there are still many obstacles to overcome. It is estimated that up to 25% live below the poverty line and many children are without education. They joined the EU in 2007.
Through Operation Christmas Child, we show underprivileged children they have not been forgotten. Last year we sent 150,065 gift-filled shoeboxes to do just that.
- Population: 7,310,555
- GDP Per Capita: $11,000
- Official language: Serbian
- Capital City: Belgrade
Although Serbia is benefiting for good economic growth, it is still struggling to overcome the detrimental effects of the war in the early 1990s. Unemployment is around 19% and as many as one-third of children do not have a proper education. A survey carried out in Novi Sad elementary and high schools showed that 70% of young people between the ages of 11 and 16 years use some type of drugs. 200,000 abortions are performed annually and a large number of these involve young people. Serbian youth are in desperate need of hope, love and direction.
We provide hope to impoverished children by sending thousands of shoeboxes each year through Operation Christmas Child. Last year we sent 100,023 gift-filled shoeboxes.
- Population: 45,134,707
- GDP Per Capita: $6,700
- Official language: Ukrainian
- Capital City: Kiev
Ukraine is one of the largest and one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. Due to widespread poverty, more than 100,000 children live in orphanages, their parents unable to afford their keep. Once the bread basket of the former USSR, Ukraine has struggled since ratifying independence in 1991. Ukraine is highly dependent on imports, about three-fourths of its annual natural gas and oil requirements, and faces an uphill struggle to gain economic recovery. Ukraine also has the worst HIV rates in Europe.
We are empowering local church partners to care for and support recovering alcohol and drug users who are HIV positive. In addition, we are mobilising churches around the country to care for families impacted by HIV. Last year, we also sent around 164,725 gift-filled shoeboxes to the capital, Kiev, and to the autonomous region of the Crimea.