A child’s right to be heard is our obligation to listen. As an organisation that listens to children, young people and to its supporters, we have been able to improve on our actions and have positive, long-term impact for our beneficiaries.
The number one risk factor for family crises that results in a family breaking apart and child abandonment in Africa, Asia and Latin America is poverty. Collectively as an international organization, we have been listening and responding in 125 countries. An overview of our top line achievements of 2014 include:
- Family Strengthening: We enabled 83,500 families (with 240,600 children) to grow stable and stay strong together
- Loving Homes: We provided 78,700 children and young people, who were once alone, with loving families
- Education: We helped educate 134,700 children, young people and adults who once had little or no access to education
- Advocacy: 93% of all young people (age 13+) in our care programmes participated actively in decision-making for SOS programmes or child rights advocacy
Calling upon world leaders
With an alarming figure of 570 million children under the age of 18 living in poverty, SOS Children has been advocating world leaders to make vulnerable children a priority. We want to see the end of child poverty. We want states to invest in adequate family strengthening, quality care and support for young people. We want to ensure that social protection policies and programmes take into account the viewpoints and rights of children, young people and their caregivers. And lastly, we want vulnerable children and young people made a priority for Post-2015.
Throughout 2014, SOS Children worked alongside other child-focused organizations and agencies to influence the Post-2015 development agenda. Together we successfully lobbied for vulnerable children and their families to be included in the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Keeping up with an evolving world
With the help of our partners and donors, and in cooperation with communities and schools, SOS Children has set up centres with ICT training, digital libraries, internet connectivity, digital health management systems for medical clinics, and parenting courses using mobile phone technology. Technology is all around us. It has affected the way people communicate, work and learn. SOS Children wants to ensure equal access to information for everyone. In 2014, we started using information and technology as a way for people in developing and disadvantaged communities to learn and become self-reliant. This initiative is called ICT4D – information and communications technologies for development – which is implemented in over 20 countries.
SOS Children is empowering women in Sri Lanka through mobile technology. The programme aims to teach 150 women in two communities about child protection. The women receive face-to-face training sessions and then SMS messages for six months about positive communication, sanitation, child rights and managing home finances.
Listening during a crisis
Several natural disasters, conflicts and epidemics occurred in 2014, which threatened the safety and well-being of children and their families. With a focus in protecting young lives and listening to their needs in times of crisis, we delivered emergency relief to several countries.
In early 2014, the Ebola outbreak spread across West Africa, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Over 10,000 children lost one or both parents. Many of these children were shunned by their communities as a result of fear and stigma. All of our children in SOS Children’s Villages remained safe and Ebola-free.
We supported families affected by Ebola and are helping children who have been orphaned by the disease. The SOS Medical Centre in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, was the only clinic that remained open for 24-hours to provide medical support for non-Ebola-related conditions, relieving the burden on other health services.
2014 marked the fourth year of civil war in Syria. Over 7.6 million people were internally displaced and over 12 million were in need, making Syria the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. SOS Children has continued to support vulnerable children and families during the ongoing conflict.
Our emergency programmes reached over 27,000 people. We have distributed food and essential items to families, as well as warm coats and blankets. The SOS Child Friendly Space in Damascus has provided displaced children with food and a safe place to play. In Lebanon, we have set up a centre for traumatised children, which helps refugee Syrian children to recover.
Central African Republic (CAR)
In 2014, political unrest in CAR sparked violent protests which placed more than half of the population in dire need of help. We supported children and their families by providing essential food and non-food items, child protection areas and programmes, and education, to just name a few. Our support reached approximately 65,000 people.
Our Children's Village in Bouar, CAR, is located near the border with Chad and Cameroon. Here, we offer shelter to families and children fleeing the violence.
Our achievements would not be possible without you. We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts on behalf of every child who was offered a loving home, young person who received vocational training and care giver who received support.