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Refugee crisis appeal

Tarek, a refugee boy living in Lebanon, sits at a table

Four-year-old Tarek fled Syria with his family when his home was destroyed. He was found living on the streets of Beirut with his father and brother. With only a cardboard box for shelter, Tarek's little family were surviving on the generosity of passers by.

Today, Tarek and his brother are living at SOS Children's emergency care centre near Beirut. They are just two of the many refugee children we are caring for throughout the affected countries.

Please help us care for the most vulnerable children at this time of crisis.

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How are children and families affected? | Our commitment | What are we doing to help? | How can I help? | How will my money be spent?

How are children and families affected?

A displaced Syrian family living in Beirut, Lebanon

This year, more than a million refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe. Many are fleeing conflict in countries such as Afghanistan and Eritrea, but the brutal war in Syria has been the single biggest driver, as desperate families look beyond their own borders for a safe home for their children.

Outside Europe, refugee families are suffering the hardships of displacement. A quarter of Lebanon's population is now made up of refugees from Syria. Within Syria itself, more than 11 million people have fled their homes – that's around half of the population. Here and elsewhere, opportunities for displaced families are scarce. Children are missing out on a home, an education and a proper childhood.

Our commitment

As always, wherever children are at risk, we will be there to ensure that they receive the best possible care:

“No matter where children are – whether in the countries torn apart by conflict, poverty and despair, in the countries of first asylum, in the countries they are passing through, or in the nations striving to provide them a new home – SOS Children’s Villages is on the ground, aiming to collaborate with state authorities, non-governmental organisations and international agencies, such as the United Nations.”

—Richard Pichler, CEO, SOS Children's Villages International

What are we doing to help?

Thanks to supporters like you, we are helping children forced from their home across the affected region, from Syria to Austria:We are helping refugee children and their families across Europe

  • Syria: So far, we have reached over 110,000 people affected by the war, getting children to school, helping families survive the harsh Syrian winter, and by providing vital food, shelter and medication – especially for children and breastfeeding mothers.
  • Lebanon: We have been supporting refugees since March 2014. Near Beirut, we provide daycare for 250 youngsters and a home for and over 200 unaccompanied children. Food and hygiene kits have also been given to 600 families.
  • Macedonia: In Macedonia, the SOS team is providing counselling, education and support to children at the Vinojug refugee site on the Greek border. We are also operating a child-friendly space in Tabanovce, which has so far given over 6,000 children a safe place to rest and play. The Children's Village in Skopje will provide a temporary home for children who have made the journey alone.
  • Serbia: We have created a child-friendly space in Belgrade, so that newly arrived refugee children have somewhere safe to learn, play and socialise while their parents try to restart their lives. We are also distributing warm-bedding, blankets and baby-care packs. Our ICT corner in Belgrade enables people to find information and plan their journeys safely – it is used by as many as 1,000 people every day. 
  • Greece: Our Emergency Response Team is providing three child-freindly spaces – one for 240 children at the Eleonas refugee accommodation centre in Athens and the others on the island of Lesvos. Alongside this, we are offering counselling, food, clothing and support for parents and children living in refugees centres. We will also provide homes for unaccompanied children in our Children's Villages throughout the country. 
  • Croatia: We are distributing back-packs filled with cold weather essentials and toilteries to families. One of the team cares for a young Iraqi refugee
  • Italy: At three Children's Villages, we are caring for 47 unaccompanied children who have arrived on Italy's shores. We are preparing to support children through counselling, play and education in a child-friendly space in the south of the country.
  • Finland: We are providing care to 30 unaccompanied children and young people at our Finnish SOS Youth Home and our Children's Village in Tapiola.
  • Austria: Already, more than 130 refugee children have found a new home in Children's Villages in Austria, with plans underway to care for at least another 30 before the end of the year.
  • Germany: We are caring for 300 unaccompanied children and young people at several of our Children's Villages accross the country. We are also providing language courses and tutoring to several refugee families. 
Our response in each of the affected countries will inevitably be dependent on the needs in that country, and – as always – we will tailor our response to the needs of each country accordingly.

How can I help?

By supporting us today, you will help us provide safety and stability to refugee children, whether in Europe, the Middle East or within Syria itself.

Donate £30 now

Or donate another amount...

How will my money be spent?

Your donation will support our work to help those affected by the crisis in Europe, the Middle East and other affected regions, including provision of childcare, shelter and psychosocial support. As stated above, our response will vary to meet the differing needs of each affected country. If we raise more money than we need for a particular country, we will direct funds to another country in need.

Ultimately, if we raise sufficient funds to cover the current refugee crisis, we will use any surplus to fund other emergency relief programmes around the world. A crucial part of providing a quality – and timely – response during an emergency is logistics, and this inevitably includes the costs incurred in raising the money needed to support our programmes. A small proportion of your donation will be used to cover these costs.

Latest news from the disaster area

Refugee crisis: How we’re connecting stranded families in Serbia

Refugee crisis: How we’re connecting stranded families in Serbia

Apr 07, 2016 02:55 PM

“I haven’t been to school in three years,” says 16-year-old Rifat. A Syrian refugee, he has been stranded at the Presevo refugee centre in south-eastern Serbia for several months now.

SOS nurse delivers a baby at refugee site

SOS nurse delivers a baby at refugee site

Mar 17, 2016 12:20 PM

An SOS Children’s Villages nurse is helping expectant mothers in refugee camps have safe, hygienic deliveries. In mid- February, nurse Ljupka Pavlovic helped bring an Iraqi baby girl into the world.

Gifts from the heart

Gifts from the heart

Jan 05, 2016 07:20 AM

In December, we brought you the story of the three little Santa’s, Aleksander, Jovanka and Irina, from SOS Children’s Village Skopje, Macedonia. They decided they wanted to put a smile on the face of refugee children and send them presents. In the second part of the story, we join 19-year-old Hristijan, an SOS young person, who volunteered to deliver the gifts to the Vinojug refugee camp.

“To my new friend from Syria”

“To my new friend from Syria”

Dec 22, 2015 03:45 PM

“The news shows so many children coming into Macedonia,” says nine-year-old Aleksander. “They are very sad. Why are the children sad?” He is referring to the thousands of refugee children currently stranded in Macedonia while trying to reach Western Europe.

Christmas in the cold

Christmas in the cold

Dec 07, 2015 11:54 AM

As winter sets in across the Middle East and Europe, the situation for millions of refugees is looking increasingly bleak. Plummeting temperatures and snow in Syria has increased the already considerable suffering of the 7.6 million internally displaced people. The situation is equally depressing in Lebanon and neighbouring Jordan.

Refugee crisis: An update on our work

Refugee crisis: An update on our work

Nov 11, 2015 11:35 AM

In Syria, our emergency programmes continue to support thousands of families displaced by the war. As well as distributing food and clothing, our staff in Syria are expanding the number of child-friendly spaces and temporary childcare shelters, where children separated from their parents are taken. SOS mothers and staff also continue to carry out the everyday work of providing a loving home for orphaned or abandoned children and supporting SOS young people.


With our award-winning SOS Schools around the world, giving to schools and improving children’s education with SOS Children is easy and effective.