Press Release – September 10 2019

The global #iseeyou campaign focuses on children who are invisible

Innsbruck, Austria – A new campaign, titled #iseeyou, aims to make visible those children who are growing up without the necessary care and protection they need to thrive. SOS Children’s Villages says society has turned a blind eye to children everywhere who are neglected, abused, abandoned or on the move.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 10th anniversary of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. SOS Children’s Villages launched the campaign today to bring children growing up without adequate parental care front and centre.

The #iseeyou campaign will raise awareness about these children, their needs and rights. SOS Children’s Villages calls on governments and society at large to ensure these children receive the care they need. The fact that there are 1 billion children who suffered physical, sexual or emotional violence in the past year, 152 million children working as labourers, combatants or begging on the street every day; and 10 million child refugees is an indictment on society.

Norbert Meder, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages, says: “With #iseeyou, we will raise awareness about children who live without parental care or who are in situations where they might lose parental care. Children deserve the opportunity to fully enjoy their rights, and every child counts. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child can only become a reality if we make every child visible.”

Cece Nikolova, 21, was found behind a dumpster as a baby. She is outspoken about her desperate start to life.  

“I lay there like a piece of garbage; thrown away, small, helpless and crying. Some people suffer a lifetime of sorrow, desperate to have a child, and others see that same child as a burden, an obstacle that they drop next to a big dumpster in a small town. Maybe someone will see it and take it. Maybe no one will,” says Cece, who grew up in an SOS Children's Villages family in North Macedonia.

Cece, who works in children’s television, says her story took an unexpected turn because she found a home and a family in foster care. Children who are abandoned have a very bleak future, according to Cece. “You are not supposed to study. You shouldn't succeed at anything. You are made to beg, steal, sold on the street for money, dumped in some juvenile institution to rot until you're old enough to be held responsible for your own actions, or end up in prison or a mental institution. This, because life didn't give you a fair chance from the beginning,” says Cece.

Today, 140 million children have lost at least one parent and 15.1 million have no parents, at risk of growing up alone. After 70 years of providing family care to children like Cece, SOS Children’s Villages has evidence-based research that shows the cycle can be broken following a difficult childhood. Research published by SOS Children’s Villages in April 2019 demonstrated that as a result of SOS care and protection, 90% of former participants have strong family relationships and support networks.

With a powerful campaign video, SOS Children’s Villages connects with the audience’s childhood memories; moments of annoyance with family members when being invisible would have been preferred. It then sharply contrasts these moments by showing situations of children who are forced to be alone – physically or emotionally – and who have no choice but to remain invisible to adults who are meant to provide the care and protection they are entitled to. The campaign makes the call to action: You can make them visible. Join #iseeyou.


About the video

The video was produced in collaboration with Nemorin Film & Video, a London-based agency. All children in the video are actors. The filming of the video took place in the United Kingdom and Jordan during the months of June and July.

About SOS Children’s Villages

SOS Children's Villages is the world’s largest non-governmental organisation focused on supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it. Founded in 1949 as a non-denominational organisation, today we have a presence in 136 countries and territories.

Our work is anchored in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. We operate more than 2,600 locally led programmes, directly reaching more than a million children, young people and families. We partner with donors, communities, governments and other organisations to reach the children and young people who need support, and we advocate for governments to uphold their obligations with regard to children’s rights.

In April this year, SOS Children’s Villages released its 70 Years of Impact report that tracks the organisation’s impact on the lives of children and young people through its family-like care and family strengthening services. The research helped to identify the numbers of children reached, but more importantly how they have actually improved their lives in the long term, and how the community has benefitted as well.

Go to our #iseeyou campaign