From natural disasters to conflict, from abuse to epidemics, SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners to ensure the world’s most vulnerable children can grow up safe.
“Violence against children is universal and has enormous consequences for children,” says Barbara Ammirati, Senior Advocacy Advisor at SOS Children’s Villages. “Violence, abuse and neglect are significant causes of separation of children from family – and that very separation often exacerbates children’s vulnerability to repeated violence.”
SOS Children’s Villages operates programmes in 133 countries. When a disaster strikes near one of our programmes, we are well-placed to respond immediately and provide long-term solutions. Children and young people are the most vulnerable in times of calamity.
Representatives from SOS Children’s Villages were eager to share their knowledge of protecting children in sensitive situations. SOS Children’s Villages co-presented a side-event at the summit titled: Leaving No Child Unprotected: Child Protection across the Development and Humanitarian Divide. Our emergency relief programmes focus on restoring the rights of the child and ensuring that family life can return to normality. Its activities and programmes include medical care, family support, trauma relief, school supplies, reconstruction and basic necessities, such as food, water and shelter.
A desperate father holds his baby boy behind a razor-wire fence at the Greek transit centre in Idomeni. The number of refugees seeking safety in Europe continues to rise. According to the UNHCR, about 200,000 refugees and migrants have arrived by sea so far in 2016.
SOS Children’s Villages is supporting vulnerable child refugees and their families across affected regions. The SOS team has reached over 110,000 people affected by the Syrian war by helping children continue their education, providing vital food and medication, and more. SOS Child-Friendly Spaces have been set-up in various refugee camps to provide children with a safe place to learn, play and rest. In Serbia, an ICT centre is granting internet access to refugees, so separated family members are able to reconnect. In countries such as Italy, Finland and Austria, the SOS Villages are providing a safe haven for vulnerable refugees.
After Ecuador was struck with a magnitude-7.8 earthquake on 18 April 2016, the SOS Villages located in the affected regions responded to victims. We set-up a Child-Friendly Space for vulnerable children, and delivered food, water, blankets, mosquito nets and hygiene kits to victims.
In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, made landfall in the Philippines. The typhoon was one of the strongest cyclones ever recording, killing more than 6,300 people. SOS Children’s Villages works in eight locations in the Philippines. After the Typhoon Haiyan, we set-up Child-Friendly Spaces which benefited over 2,000 vulnerable children. Here, children participated in arts and crafts as a means to cope with the trauma that experienced. The team on the ground helped to build 250 homes and two primary schools. In addition, families and communities received fishing equipment to make a living.
In 2014, West Africa experienced the largest Ebola outbreak in recorded history. SOS Children’s Villages operates programmes in the most severely affected countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. SOS Villages opened their doors to children orphaned by the Ebola virus. In Liberia, the SOS Medical Centre was the only 24-hour medical facility in operation at the time. The centre provide care to non-Ebola related conditions to help alleviate the demand on Liberia’s other health services. The SOS Villages implemented strict protocols to help keep all of the children in their care safe. Outreach programmes provided educational lessons to community members as a preventative measure and to reduce community shaming of Ebola survivors. Here, an SOS employee entertains the children who are staying at the Interim Care Center in Makeni to make sure they did not contract the virus.
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