The Child Refugee Crisis

The world is in the grip of a refugee crisis that has uprooted almost 50 million children from their homes.

Many face an arduous journey across borders to find a safer home in another country – at least 300,000 of them are doing this alone.

These children are terribly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and trafficking – some studies estimate that as many as 50% of unaccompanied children go missing from refugee centres after reaching Europe.

As experts in the care of vulnerable children SOS Children’s Villages is providing care, support and emergency aid to child refugees around the world.

How we are helping

  1. We work along the world’s key migrant routes, providing food, first aid and trauma counselling to refugee children. Our child-friendly spaces let children and families recover from their ordeal in safety.


  1. We care for unaccompanied children until their families can be located, or a new home for them can be found.


  1. We are helping migrants rebuild their lives through education, vocational training, language courses and counselling.

“Refugees in North Cyprus often face challenges in getting work permits or decent jobs. There is a lack of social assistance or welfare schemes for the unemployed. Families often struggle upon arrival.”

Refika Ince, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Northern Cyprus – who have helped hundreds of refugees adjust to their new lives.
  1. We are working to change the way child refugees are perceived and treated around the world. Children should be treated as children – whatever their migration status or that of their parents.


  1. We are using technology to help refugees reconnect with lost loved-ones and rebuild their fragmented families.

Bringing refugees and local communities together

For the 70,000 refugees in the Rwamwanja settlement in Uganda, integrating into the local community has proven especially hard.  Language and cultural differences between them and the local community – as well as poverty and a lack of sufficient infrastructure to accommodate all the newcomers – has created divisions.

SOS Children’s Villages is working to improve living conditions for both communities, to help them live together for the long-term. Our ‘Rebuild’ programme will boost the economy, support women-only households, and improve gender relations.

Nearly 1.4 million people from surrounding countries are seeking refuge in Uganda.
A young girl at the reception centre at Lamwo Refugee Settlement. The settlement is home to more than 30,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled the war. Lamwo Refugee Settlement, Palabek, Northern Uganda.

Uganda is Africa’s largest host country for refugees, giving sanctuary to 1.4 million people who have fled violence in neighbouring countries – particularly South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Refugee Family Reunion Bill

We believe every child, everywhere, deserves the chance to thrive in a loving and stable family.  To that end, we are campaigning in support of the ‘Refugee Family Reunion Bill’ when it comes before parliament for its second reading on March 16.

The bill would bring refugee children – many of whom are in the country alone and have suffered the traumas of war and bereavement – one step closer to being reunited with their families.

Our reports

Let children be children: Integrating refugee children

Our 2017 report explores how European countries can better respond to the unique needs of migrant children, including those travelling without their families.

Position Paper on migrant and refugee children

SOS Children’s Villages lays out the steps the international community must take to ensure refugee children are not denied their basic human rights to fair treatment and care.

Explore SOS

SOSUK welcomes call to end ‘heartbreak’ of refugee family reunion rules

Aid agency SOS Children’s Villages UK welcomed comments by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott on the need to change immigration rules that keep families apart.

Get Involved

Without our supporters, we could not do this. Whether you are an individual, a school, a company, a trust or a foundation, here you can discover all the best ways to fundraise for us and raise awareness of our work.


You can help children who have lost their parents. They may have been orphaned by AIDS, natural disaster or conflict. Poverty may have forced their parents to give them up, or they may have been separated from their family by war.