18 August 2017

Photo essay: World Humanitarian Day

SOS Children’s Villages has helped thousands of Haitian families during disasters. Shortly after a hurricane in October 2016, these children gathered at a community centre supported by SOS Haiti. Photographer: Photo by Marie Arago

SOS Children’s Villages works year-round to help children during emergencies, a time when a child most needs care and protection.

“With record numbers of people displaced by violence and disaster, the world’s humanitarian challenges continue to grow – and continue to affect children in ever-increasing numbers”, said Andreas Papp, Director of Emergency Response for SOS Children’s Villages International, speaking ahead of World Humanitarian Day on 19 August.

“Especially in these times of extraordinary crises, there can be no excuse for inaction when it comes to defending a child’s internationally recognised right to care, safety, education and the opportunity to grow up in a family,” Mr Papp said.
 
SOS Children’s Villages global relief operations over the past year have provided 480,000 service days and delivered 318,000 single humanitarian services to keep children safe and families together. More than 800 employees and volunteers in at least 25 countries are involved in the organisation’s emergency response programmes.
 
These photos illustrate just some of the assistance SOS Children’s Villages provides to children and families in humanitarian emergencies.
 
More than a decade of violence by Boko Haram militias has caused a refugee and displacement crisis across west Africa’s Lake Chad basin. At Mainé Soroa, in Niger’s Diffa region, SOS Children’s Villages child protection officer Saibou Bassirou gathers information from a mother and her son. The woman was reunited with her family with the help of SOS Children’s Villages. Photo by Philip Tremeau
SOS Children’s Villages staff have provided child friendly spaces, interim care, medical care and other emergency assistance throughout much of Syria’s civil war. An SOS Children’s Villages Syria co-worker speaks with children in Tartous, a coastal region that is home to thousands of people displaced by conflict. Photo by SOS Children’s Villages Syria
One million Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring Lebanon. SOS Children’s Villages shelters refugee children at an interim care centre near Beirut and – since March 2017 – offers psychological and social care, supplementary education and other services for vulnerable Syrians and Lebanese host-community families in the Bekaa Valley. This photo is from the emergency programme in Ksarnaba, home of an SOS Children’s Village. Photo by Zeinab Tueni
SOS Children’s Villages is one of the few organisations working on both sides of the conflict in Ukraine. Here, children and mothers enjoy a group activity with a psychologist at the SOS Children’s Villages emergency programme in the eastern town of Starobilsk. The psychologists are highly appreciated and in demand, both with internally displaced people and the local population. Photo by Katerina Ilievska
Nurse Ali Adan from the SOS Children’s Villages hospital in Mogadishu examines a child during a visit to a displacement camp near the Somali capital. Children who need further medical care are transported to the hospital. SOS Children’s Villages started an emergency programme for Somalia to address the urgent needs of families affected by extreme drought and food insecurity. Photo by SOS Children’s Villages Somalia staff
With programmes in ten locations, SOS Children’s Villages was able to respond rapidly to the needs of children in the immediate aftermath of Nepal’s earthquake in April 2015. Today, the emergency programme is working to reconstruct homes, provide educational support and to improve job skills for parents – benefiting thousands of families in a country still struggling to recover from the disaster. Photo by Martin Prihoda

Following a conflict that forced the evacuation of the SOS Children’s Village Juba, nurse Achol Ajak Nyibong worked to re-supply the dispensary at the temporary housing in the South Sudanese capital. SOS Children’s Villages was able to re-open the looted Juba village in early 2017 and has also helped vulnerable families in the community through an emergency relief programme. Photo by Ashley Hamer
Since 2015, SOS Children’s Villages has helped refugee families and unaccompanied children in Greece and across the western Balkans. At the Diavata refugee centre in northern Greece, children enjoy language instruction and other educational activities provided by staff and volunteers from SOS Children’s Villages Greece. The organisation also provides accommodation and mental health support for unaccompanied children at four residential centres with a current capacity for 90 boys and girls. Photo by Thalia Galanopoulou / Vodafone Foundation Greece
Children and an SOS co-worker take part in arts activities at the Child Friendly Space (CFS) in Preševo, a main refugee centre in southern Serbia. The CFS offers a place to relax and have fun. The SOS Children’s Villages Serbia emergency programme today helps children and families at refugee centres in the country. Photo by Katerina Ilievska