Connecting in Times of Crisis
Ingrid Maria Johansen, CEO, and Dereje Wordofa, President
After decades of steady progress on the child rights agenda, 2020 proved to be a major setback for children worldwide, especially those growing up alone or in families at risk of breaking down. More than 700,000 children had lost a parent to COVID-19 in 2020 alone, and millions more are now at risk of being deprived of their families. As the world builds back, we urgently need to come together as a global community to respond to the new pressures facing children without parental care or at risk of losing it. (Read more in “Year in Review.”)
There is no doubt that 2020 was a difficult year for the children, young people and families in our programmes across the world. They too struggled with not seeing loved ones, school closures, mental stress, health issues and job loss. After the initial shock of the first lockdowns, we spent much of the year adapting our services to support children and families to cope with the pandemic’s pressures. Despite the new challenges, there have been silver linings and things we have learned – the paradox of crisis.
In particular, the pandemic forced us to scale up our digital efforts. As a result, we are connecting faster and reaching even more people – be it through online trainings on mental health, mentoring activities through our YouthCan! employability initiative, or being there via live chat for a young person in crisis. The pandemic pushed us away physically from each other, but technology brought us together.
And while lockdowns have been stressful, we have also seen families spending more quality time together, playing games and having conversations they normally don’t have the time for. We have seen young people who left care checking in on their peers over social media groups. The pandemic has demonstrated how important connection is, especially in times of crisis. (Read more in “In Their Own Words.”)
Children need safe and nurturing relationships to be able to thrive and become their strongest selves. SOS Children’s Villages is committed to making this happen wherever we can. We support families to stay together and strengthen the connection with their children. We support caregivers to connect with the children and young people in our care, care leavers to connect with one another, and so much more.
To our 4.2 million donors and partners, we say thank you for supporting our work during these challenging times. Whether through a donation, sharing a post or becoming a mentor, you make connection possible – which is now more important than ever.