Sponsor a Child in Asia & the Middle East

Sponsor a Child in Need

Exploitation and Instability 

Ever since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, Syrian families have suffered tremendously, losing family members, their homes, their means of support, and their sense of security. Millions have fled the country. Many of those who remain in Syria lack clean water, food, and medical care, and deal daily with the effects of the war. Millions of Syrian children are growing up without access to education, safe places to play, or desperately needed mental health care.  

On the other side of the region, the Uighurs, a Muslim minority livingin western China, continue to chafe under Chinese rule. They have little economic or political power, and extreme poverty in the area means that many families are unable to care for their children.  

SOS on the Ground: Caring for Children Amid Hardship 

In Syria, vulnerable children and families find help through a variety of SOS Children’s Villages programs. Orphans and other children without family care are welcomed at SOS villages. Child Friendly Spaces provide traumatized children with psychosocial support and active learning through play and recreational activities, with a focus on enhancing children’s self-esteem and nurturing friendships and social connection. To get families back on their feet, SOS’s family strengthening programs include parenting support sessions, food assistance to ensure adequate nutrition, and microfinancing to enable parents to set up small businesses to provide a stable income.   

In China, SOS villages in 10 locations – including in the Xinjiang region, which is a majority Uighur area provide loving homes for orphaned and abandoned children. Young children in the community can attend SOS kindergartens while their parents receive training or go to work, and SOS also supports youth with education and training.

Regional Challenges for Children: Trafficking and Child Labor 

Many children have to abandon school to go to work. It is estimated that as many as 7% of Indonesian children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labor. Other forms of exploitation, especially sexual exploitation, are also an issue in the region 

Sexual exploitation is particularly common among children who leave home without any support system and have nowhere to turn for help. Other children are abducted and become victims of human trafficking, smuggled internally or into neighboring countries. 

A Focus on Youth Empowerment 

SOS Children’s Villages is committed to ensuring that all children benefit from equality of opportunity,  go to school, and are able to determine their own futures, free from economic and sexual exploitation.  

This is accomplished by working with at-risk families, operating SOS villages to raise children who have lost parental care, and offering youth empowerment programs that help young people transition to adulthood. Services for older youth include special homes where they live until they are ready to embark on an independent life. They are guided, supported and encouraged throughout the entire proces

Ensuring Equality of Opportunity: Education for All 

Only half of South Asia’s young people complete their education, with 48% of children not enrolled at the upper secondary level. In Pakistan, 54% of girls and women over age 15 are illiterate, compared to a still high 30% of boys and men. SOS Children’s Villages believes that education is the foundation for success. Children throughout the region have the opportunity to attend SOS kindergartens as well as Hermann Gmeiner schools, named after SOS’s founder.  

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