BELGRADE – Under the slogan “Stop poverty in all its forms” is marked the International Day Against Poverty. Almost two billion people in the world live in poverty.

In Serbia nine percent of the population, about 630,000 people, can’t meet even the minimum necessities of life, and every fourth resident is at the verge of poverty. The most affected are large families in rural areas. The fact that one in eight children under the age of 14 lives in poverty is devastating.

The number of people on the verge of poverty is twice as high in rural areas than in cities. For example, in Presevo about 60 percent of the population is at risk of poverty, and in Belgrade 4 percent, which is 15 times less.

“One story is in Belgrade, and another when you further into Serbia. Of the total of 4,709 villages, 2,000 do not have post office, 500 villages do not have asphalt road, 400 do not even have a store,” explained Nadezda Sataric from NGO “Power of Friendship” – Amity.

The issue of poverty is not just a matter of income but also the access to services.

Jelena Milovanovic from the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of Serbia says that some roles are left to local level, and that the state provides targeted transfers.

“We whould also add that the Republic of Serbia for this purpose allocates 23-24 percent of GDP and that these funds are less than the average of EU countries, but are higher than in some new EU members,” added Milovanovic.