SOS Children’s Villages prevent children from being abandoned. They provide individuals with the opportunity to play a crucial role in a child’s upbringing. Yet the villages themselves are susceptible to the spillover of outside violence. Children are the most vulnerable to this violence. The proper means for child development cannot be provided if their well-being is not treated with more respect and concern.
There are provisions necessary for the proper development of a child. Children need to have a loving family, respect and security. Yet with the increase of conflict, children are being placed in more and more unsecure conditions which are stripping away at their quality of development.
In the Children’s Village of Rafah, a southern city of the Gaza Strip, the sounds of bombs can be clearly heard on a daily basis. The children do not understand the cause of the violence and are terrified by the sounds. Some ask the SOS mothers, “Why are there so many people being killed? Why are there so many houses being destroyed?” But the mothers cannot even answer and simply try to keep the children happy.
The Children’s Village in Israel, home to Muslim, Jewish and Christian children, is in just as much turmoil, its occupants disturbed by the sounds of war around them. Here the Children’s Village is based in the conflict zone area, accompanied with fortified protection for families to take refuge.
Still, many children are too scared to leave the sides of their SOS mothers, some even too afraid to go to the bathroom alone. Older children say that this may be how their lives always are, always fearful of the raging war.
In Africa, the SOS Village of Malakal was forced to evacuate after threats of rebel violence. The village was later overrun by rebels and now lies in ruins. Plans of relocation to Juba, the capital city, were politically denied. Now the children of Malakal Village have no permanent home.
Countless stories exist about children who are barely surviving on the streets in their countries. From Ammar, the 10-year-old Syrian boy who spends his days collecting litter and who wakes up to insects crawling all over his body, to Tahir, an 18-year-old survivor of the SOS Village Malakal raid who ran for his life after witnessing murder, the situation of children without proper homes is worsening in these violent regions.
– Ashley Riley