Located in the South-West, near the Croation border, Pécs is the fifth largest city in Hungary. Pécs is a university town with rich cultural heritage. It was home to several factories in the socialist period, many of which did not survive the economic transition. Since 1990, Pecs has lost almost 20% of its population, due to dwindling birth rates as well as stark outmigration. In the past decade, unemployment has dropped to 6% and the area has attracted some more investment. The largest fraction of foreign nationals is made up of Germans (4%), followed by Roma (2%). An anticipated upturn as a result of the city’s 2010 European Capital of Culture status did not fully materialize.
Pécs has experienced a prolonged population decline due to its limited local labour market, as the county struggled to restructure itself economically once the industrial base had waned. Local educational institutions are outstanding; but retaining high-achieving young people has been difficult. Some marginalised areas of the city’s periphery are home to predominantly Roma communities, and civil society organisations are often active in those areas.
Pécs has a lively NGO sector including national organisations (like the Malta Charity Organisation) but also several local ones, that are working with vulnerable youth groups. The Malta Charity organization implements social rehabilitation programmes in the most remote areas of the city, that are inhabited mostly by Roma communities. The organization seeks to improve educational enrolment and outcomes for at risk young people, and integrate their activities with mainstream programmes and services.