I have had the great pleasure of seeing two SOS Children’s Villages: one in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the other in Chicago, Illinois. While they are markedly different the premise is the same and that is to provide quality care with a loving family for children who have been orphaned or abandoned.
The SOS Children’s Village I visited in Chicago looks like many neighborhoods you might see anywhere in America, but it is made up of 17 single-family homes led by a Foster Parent with children who desperately need SOS Children’s Villages services. In fact, the Chicago Village is SOS Children’s Villages first urban village in the world. SOS Children’s Villages provides stable family homes for children who may not have parents at all or may have parents who are incapable of taking care of them properly.
When I think about Syria, I’m overcome with emotion remembering the countless stories of children affected by the country’s ongoing conflict. It is truly a tragedy.
I often think of Wael, a 9-year-old boy, who was shot in the face by a sniper while he stood outside on a balcony with his mother. Although he survived, he now has to endure countless surgeries to help with the reconstruction of his facial features.
I also think of the horrific attack that left Hala, a 9-year-old girl, wandering the streets crying, terrified and covered in blood. She was injured and had just witnessed the death of her mother after a mortar fell on their home. Today, Hala is in a hospital coping with the psychological trauma that comes with witnessing the brutality of war.
Heartbreaking stories like these are all too common in Syria.
This week we will collaborate with Save the Children and Children Inspire Design on two important awareness raising and fundraising events.
#EndEbola Twitter Chat
Join us this Wednesday when we join Save the Children and their Liberia Country Director, Greg Duly. We will discuss the state of the Ebola crisis in Liberia and how it is steadily becoming under control. We will also discuss how Ebola has affected women, children, and entire families.
When: WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2015 What: Twitter chat with Save the Children (@SavetheChildren) and its Liberia Country Director Greg Duly (@greg_duly) Hashtag:#EndEbola Why: We will discuss the current state of the Ebola caseload in Liberia as well as Ebola’s effects on women, children, and families.
As hard as it may sound, children are living in crisis as I write this post and it honestly breaks my heart. There are Syrian children who are living under harsh conditions in refugee camps who just want to go home to a world they once knew and there are also children who are running from severe violence in the Central African Republic and don’t know where to turn. Children in West Africa have lost both of their parents and even extended family members during the Ebola crisis and are completely lost and there are also children in the Ukraine who hear and see massive shelling every day and witness unthinkable things that are extremely difficult for adults to handle.
Even last year Save the Children released a report about Motherhood in Crisis. If mothers are in crisis, so are their children. According to the report, “over 60 million women and children are in need of humanitarian assistance.”
In an earlier piece today, How is Haiti Faring Five Years After the Earthquake, development and recovery effort data and details were rather pessimistic. The numbers bear out that while some overall development achievements have been met, there is still a long way to go to help Haiti fully recover. And, yet, there continues to be successes all over Haiti. Our partners are helping to make these successes happen.
SOS Children’s Villages
On January 10, 2015, SOS Children’s Villages opened its third village for orphaned children in Les Cayes, Haiti. 63 children will be provided a home. For over 30 years, SOS Children’s Villages has provided family-based care and education programs in Santo and Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. Immediately following the earthquake SOS Children’s Villages took in 400 orphaned children and fed 24,000 children every day.
“The biggest challenge for SOS Children’s Villages during the earthquake was to find a way to welcome these children because the village was too small,” said Celigny Darius, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages – Haiti. “We installed temporary houses to enable us to take them in.”
In addition to the opening of its third village, SOS Children’s Villages has invested in six schools to renew education on the island. And 3000 children receive support through their community centers.