Child refugee crisis

Conflicts and disasters have uprooted 50 million children from their homes worldwide. Many face a dangerous journey across borders to find a safe haven – at least 300,000 of them are doing this alone. These children are extremely 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. We are providing care, support and emergency aid to child refugees around the world.


How we are helping:

  • 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 find respite from their ordeal in safety
  • We care for unaccompanied children until their families can be located, or a new home for them can be found
  • We are helping migrants rebuild their lives through education, vocational training, language courses and counselling
  • 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
  • We are using technology to help refugees reconnect with lost loved-ones and rebuild their fragmented families

Half of all refugees are children. Having fled conflict, persecution and devastation they now face a dangerous and uncertain future – living in appalling conditions in refugee camps and while travelling the world’s key migrant routes. Many lack sufficient food, clean water, shelter and medical care and are traumatised by their exposure to violence, bereavement, prolonged stress and fear. Most are unable to attend school regularly. Child malnutrition, disease and psychological damage are widespread.

Attempts by governments to prevent refugees from entering their territories have forced families along more dangerous migrant routes that endanger children’s lives and leave them at the mercy of unscrupulous people smugglers. When they reach their destinations, they are often met with suspicion, discrimination and even imprisonment while their asylum claims are processed.

SOS Children’s Villages is at the forefront of providing vital care, support and emergency aid to refugee children. We support internally displaced and refugee children around the world, including those fleeing the Syrian conflict and the violent persecution against the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

Supporting refugee integration

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.
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 as it passes through the UK parliamentary process.

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.