March 7 2016

Sweden’s Akelius Foundation donates €10.7 million for refugee response

Swedish philanthropist Roger Akelius has donated 100 million Swedish krona, or €10.7 million, to SOS Children’s Villages Sweden to assist thousands of vulnerable children affected by the refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East.

The Akelius Foundation donation, announced on 7 March, will cover programmes in conflict areas as well as transit and destination countries.

“We are extremely grateful that - for the fifth time – we will receive 100 million Swedish krona from Roger Akelius”, said Catharina Gehrke, Managing Director of SOS Children’s Villages Sweden. “He is a true philanthropist with a big heart, and his contribution will make a real difference.

“The funding will make it possible for us to support even more refugees, keeping in mind that all contributions, large as well as small, make a difference”, Ms Gehrke said.

The donation will support short-term care for unaccompanied minors, identifying and reunifying family members, and establishing communication centres along refugee routes where children can get in touch with family and relatives. It will also help cover protection for children and families, medical support, and food packages.

As many as 45,000 children, or 70,000 people overall, will be helped through these funds in 2016 and 2017.

Mr Akelius established Akelius Residential Property in 1994 and donated 90% of the company to the charitable Akelius Foundation.

The foundation has been a long-time supporter of SOS Children’s Villages, especially during times of emergencies.  Mr Akelius has previously donated 400 million Swedish krona, equivalent to €43 million today, to support SOS Children’s Villages programmes in Gaza, the Philippines, Haiti and India.

Mr Akelius told Swedish news media that he decided to donate the money to SOS Children’s Villages to help refugee children because he was irritated with the European response to the crisis.