Lebanon hosts over 1.1 million refugees – a quarter of this small country’s population – and life is harsh for most refugee families. SOS Children’s Villages has been working with the refugee community in Lebanon since March 2014. A child-friendly space and day-care centre provides around 250 children an escape from the chaos and hardship. Refugee women living around Beirut have also been helped to earn a living to support their families.
At Khonshara in the Lebanese mountains outside Beirut, an interim emergency care centre has been set up for unaccompanied children. So far over 200 such children have been cared for and given access to schooling and psychological support. Four-year-old Tarek is one of these children. His home in Syria was destroyed. Tarek and his brothers were found on the streets of Beirut, living in a cardboard box with their father. He was relying on handouts from passers-by. Today, Tarek and his brother are staying at the SOS emergency interim care centre. The boys attend school while their father looks for a job and a house where they can once more be together. In the meanwhile, Tarek is happy to play and learn with other children like a normal little boy.
Offering assistance in Europe
As conditions in Syria and its neighbouring countries worsen, thousands are now seeking a better life. On the refugees' transit through Europe, we are on the ground providing immediate help and humanitarian aid.
In Austria, more than 30 refugee children and young people who travelled on their own have already found new homes through SOS Children’s Villages. Plans are underway to find a loving home for at least 70 more in 2015.
SOS Children’s Villages Mantova and Vicenza are looking after unaccompanied children who came to Italy’s shores.
In Serbia, SOS Children’s Villages is creating a child-friendly space for children arriving in Belgrade. This is a safe, secure place where children can play and escape from the challenges surrounding them. Over the coming months, SOS Children’s Villages Serbia will provide boxes of nappies, baby food and other essential items to children and their mothers.
In Macedonia, a team of SOS staff will be working at the Vinojug refugee site on the Greek border. The team will include a psychologist, child development specialist and education professionals. A house in SOS Children’s Village Skopje will provide a temporary home to children who have made the journey alone, or who have become separated from their families.
In Greece, we will provide homes for unaccompanied children in our Children’s Villages throughout the country. We will also offer counselling, food, clothing and support for parents and children living in refugees centres.
We are providing care to unaccompanied children at our Finnish SOS Youth Home and our Children’s Village in Tapiola.
Backpacks filled with essential items such as warm clothing and toiletries will be given out to refugees in Croatia.
We've launched a dedicated refugee crisis appeal to help us reach as many vulnerable refugee children and families as possible. Find out more about how you can help.