History

We are War Child. We began life as a handful of volunteers working in a borrowed loft. Today we are active in 14 countries - working to improve the resilience and wellbeing of children living with violence and armed conflict.

War in the Balkans

Our story began in 1993. War Child was formed by social entrepreneur Willemijn Verloop and filmmakers David Wilson and Bill Leeson. The trio visited the former Yugoslavia during the Bosnian war to call attention to the plight of children there - and were horrified by the violence and ethnic cleansing they witnessed.

War Child geschiedenis verhaal oorsprong Balkan

Musical workshops for children in bomb shelters

Photo: War Child archive

War Child geschiedenis verhaal oorsprong

The War Child team in 1998

Photo: War Child archive

Hope amid the bomb shelters

Yet the trio also saw some small signs of hope. In the midst of the fighting, they observed musical workshops for children being held in the bomb shelters of Bosnia - and were convinced of the benefits of this creative approach for young survivors of armed conflict across the world.

Providing psychosocial support

Willemijn returned to the Netherlands and resolved to take action. She began to organise fundraising events in support of children growing up in the midst of war. These small fundraising drives grew rapidly in scale and War Child was born. Within just three years we were present in Sudan, Ingushetia and in Pakistan, where we provided Afghan refugee children with vital psychosocial support.

Today we are active in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East - and reach hundreds of thousands of children every year.