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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 Villages' 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

In 2015, more than a million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe and in the first four months of 2016, more than 180,000 people arrived by sea alone. 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 with 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


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. Our three child-friendly spaces provide safety and respite for nearly 9,000 children in Damascus and Aleppo.


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.


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.


We have created three child-friendly spaces – one in Belgrade, one in Adasevci and another at Sid train station – so that newly arrived refugee children have somewhere safe to learn, play and socialise while their parents try to restart their lives. Our ICT corners at the same locations enable people to find information and plan their journeys safely – they are used by as many as 3,000 people every day. We are also distributing warm-bedding, blankets and baby-care packs. 


Our Emergency Response Team is providing four child-friendly spaces – one for 240 children at the Eleonas refugee accommodation centre in Athens, two on the island of Lesvos and a newly opened space at Diavata, Thessaloniki. 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. 


During the winter months, we distributed backpacks filled with cold weather essentials and toiletries to 2,000 families. 


Two unaccompanied refugee children are being cared for at our youth home in Keila.

One of the team cares for a young Iraqi refugeeItaly

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.


We are providing care to 30 unaccompanied children and young people at our Finnish SOS Youth Home and our Children's Village in Tapiola.


Already, more than 270 refugee children have found a new home in Children's Villages in Austria and we are supporting 70 foster families in Vienna and Salzburg care for young refugees. We are also running a child-friendly space in Innsbruck.


We are caring for 300 unaccompanied children and young people at several of our Children's Villages across the country. We are also providing guest apartments, access to language courses and tutoring to several refugee families. 

Our response in each of the affected countries will inevitably be dependent on the needs of 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...

Or why not text to donate – just £4 can buy a refugee family-in-need a baby-care package.

Text SOSR20 to 70070 to give £4

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 the 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

Meet the teachers giving hope to refugee children in Macedonia

Meet the teachers giving hope to refugee children in Macedonia

Jun 16, 2016 10:55 AM

As the borders across Europe are closing, hundreds of thousands of refugees are finding themselves stranded. Some 200 people – 90 of them children – are stuck at the Tabanovce refugee centre in northern Macedonia. Already a well-established presence at the centre, SOS Children’s Villages is working hard to support them.

Mobile App allows rapid emergency response to refugees in the Balkans

Mobile App allows rapid emergency response to refugees in the Balkans

Jun 17, 2016 09:00 AM

A new emergency response app pioneered by SOS Children's Villages is improving the ability of our teams on the ground to respond to emergency situations along the refugee route in the Balkans. The app enables refugees to quickly and easily request help and assistance. The trial stage has proven to be so successful that it is now being used by other aid agencies.

Refugee crisis: Supporting children at risk

Refugee crisis: Supporting children at risk

Jun 15, 2016 10:10 AM

Last year, more than a million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe in search of safety and a better life. Approximately half of them were children. Many are travelling with their families, while others are on their own.

Photo story: Voices of the refugee crisis

Photo story: Voices of the refugee crisis

Jun 18, 2016 08:30 AM

From the Middle East to West Africa, children have risked death to flee conflict. Not since World War II have there been more child refugees. Numbering more than 10 million worldwide, it can be easy to lose sight of the human stories behind the statistics. This World Refugee Day, we want to change that.

Crossing Europe alone: Seeking safety in Finland

Crossing Europe alone: Seeking safety in Finland

May 29, 2016 09:00 AM

After a long and emotional journey to Europe, young refugees are able to start a new life in Finland with the help of SOS Children’s Villages. Fifteen teenagers recently moved into the group home in Jyväskylä, a city in western Finland. Here, two of the boys, who journeyed from Afghanistan and Iraq, share their harrowing experiences.

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.