18 February 2014

Securing Safety During Central African Republic’s Brutal Violence

02/18/2014: In the Central African Republic (CAR), homes are no longer safe to sleep in, roads are riddled by rebel ambushes and even children are being targeted. Escalating sectarian violence has thrust the developing country and its citizens into turmoil.

SOS Children’s Villages has two permanent villages in the CAR and is providing stable, loving homes for 230 children. Our SOS Village in Bangui is a humanitarian hub and, at the height of the recent violence, housed 4,000 people seeking safety.

SOS Children’s Villages was able to restart school in the Bouar village in mid-February, and has established a Child Friendly Space for children in Bangui. All public schools are still closed and many of the schools have been destroyed. The reopening of the SOS school in Bouar depends on when those temporarily living in the village feel safe enough to return home. In the meantime, Child Friendly Spaces in both Muslim and Christian communities have been established to help children forget the stress and terror surrounding them by playing for a few hours each day.

Violent acts have crept closer to the two SOS villages in recent months. In Bouar, three beneficiaries of the SOS Family Strengthening Program were killed during a sectarian fight. In Bangui, children and workers hid under beds to avoid stray bullets from a skirmish 600 feet from the village’s guest house. A compound of French soldiers a little more than a mile away from the Bouar village confirmed they would help secure SOS homes if the need arises.

Several other humanitarian organizations are working with SOS Children’s Villages. The World Food Program helps with food contributions to the villages; Doctors Without Borders offers health services; and UNICEF dug a well for potable water and refers unaccompanied children to SOS Children’s Villages.

The need in the CAR is dire. Food production has slowed, and food prices have sharply increased, while violence continues to escalate. With employees and partners on the ground working to ensure the safety of our children, your assistance will ensure continued support during this traumatic time. Help the most vulnerable citizens today by donating to SOS Children’s Villages.