August 20 2014

Swedish foundation donates €11M for long-term SOS Gaza project

A boy stands in front of the rubble of a house next door to the youth centre in Rafah, Gaza. The house was destroyed by shelling in the recent conflict. Photo: Virginie Nguyen Hoang

20 August 2014 - SOS Children's Villages' humanitarian work with children and families in Gaza will expand significantly, as result of large donation.

Sweden’s Akelius Foundation has donated 100 million Swedish Kroner [approximately 11 million euros] to SOS Children’s Villages for investment in a long-term project in Gaza that will see SOS Children’s Villages’ work there significantly expand.
SOS Children´s Villages has been active in the Palestinian Territories since 1968. There is an SOS Children's Village near the city of Rafah, in Gaza.
Recurring conflict, together with a number of other factors, place the population of the Gaza Strip under enormous pressure. UN reports in recent years have indicated that almost 40 percent of the population are living under the poverty line and that unemployment is close to 50 percent.
Many children and young people live in constant fear of conflict and with the daily threat of violence. This leads to severe and long-term trauma. In addition there is a constant lack of food and medicine.
SOS Children´s Villages plans to use the donation to focus on local areas of highest need, ensuring that programmes directly benefit vulnerable children in the Gaza Strip.
“The individual solutions are expected to comprise family-based care, short-term housing, reunification of families, education and health,” says Catharina Gehrke, managing director of SOS Children´s Villages Sweden.
SOS Palestinian Territories National Director Mohamed Shalaldeh says: “In the face of crises it is compassion that unites a fragmented world. SOS Children’s Villages will remain, through humanitarian efforts, a safe haven for children who are most vulnerable during conflict. We thank those who believe in and support our mission. We must never forget that the protection and wellbeing of children is our global responsibility.”
In a recent statement, SOS Children’s Villages CEO Richard Pichler said: “In any conflict that harms civilians, children are most vulnerable and pay the heaviest price. They suffer terrible injuries and psychological trauma, lose their parents, or are killed themselves. At stake is the wellbeing of children on both sides of the conflict. We remind all parties of their fundamental obligation under international human rights law to protect the safety of children, who are being robbed of their childhood.”

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