History

We are War Child. We began life as a handful of volunteers working in a borrowed loft. Today we are active in sixteen 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 historic photo archive

Musical workshops for children in bomb shelters

Photo: War Child archive

War Child historic photo archive - red fan with colleagues

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.

Where we work

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War Child works in areas affected by armed conflict. This may be during the conflict or after it has ended. Working in these areas presents a variety of challenges ranging from insecurity to political and logistic constraints.

  • Refugee child Roger fled from Burundi to Uganda - War Child

    Burundi

    Rebuilding social structures to protect children from violence and abuse - and improve their future prospects

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    1 project

    710,000

    Children affected by conflict

    54,500

    Total Participants

     
  • Burundian girl refugee in DR Congo - War Child Holland

    DR Congo

    Providing children and youth with education, protection, psychosocial support and livelihood opportunities to improve future prospects

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    4 projects

    7,000,000

    Children affected by conflict

    33,900

    Total Participants

     
  • Venezuelan refugee children participate in War Child's TeamUp

    Colombia

    Enabling children to build resilience and fulfil their potential - free from trauma and violence

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    5 projects

    1,423,296

    Children affected by conflict

    14,322

    Total Participants

     
  • Safe space in Iraq - War Child

    Iraq

    Working to provide emergency child protection, education and psychosocial support in conflict-affected regions

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    1 project

    3,300,000

    Children affected by conflict

    13,271

    Total Participants

     
  • Girls playing in Jordan - War Child Holland

    Jordan

    Delivering innovative education and vital psychosocial support to refugees and vulnerable children

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    3 projects

    1,200,000

    Children affected by conflict

    1880

    Total Participants

     
  • Child Laila misses out on education due to the coronacrisis but thanks to War Child she can continue school remotely.

    Lebanon

    Safeguarding fundamental rights for children from both refugee and host populations

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    7 projects

    1,100,000

    Children affected by conflict

    20,367

    Total Participants

     
  • Girl with friends in Sri Lanka - War Child

    Sri Lanka

    Strengthening child protection systems and supporting youth to build an improved future for their country

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    3 projects

    900,000

    Children affected by conflict

    8290

    Total Participants

     
  • War Child TeamUp vrijwilliger Lise - azc Nederland

    The Netherlands

    Working in support of refugee children as part of the TeamUp coalition

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    1 project

    27,000

    Children affected by conflict

    4,344

    Total Participants

     
  • Girl in Palestina Hebron - War Child Holland

    occupied Palestinian territory

    Children in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) grow up in an uncertain atmosphere where the threat of violence is never far away

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    4 projects

    800,000

    Children affected by conflict

    13,029

    Total Participants

     
  • Group of Ugandans dancing in line - War Child projects TeamUp

    Uganda

    Enabling children to build their resilience, free from trauma and violence

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    4 projects

    840,000

    Children affected by conflict

    36,422

    Total Participants

     
  • Oorlog Zuid-Soedan: hoe wij kinderen helpen met onderwijs - War Child

    Sudan

    Utilising technology to provide conflict-affected children with quality education - no matter where they live

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    1 project

    2,600,000

    Children affected by conflict

    2,667

    Total Participants

     
  • Children in South Sudan receive tablet education with Can't Wait to Learn from War Child

    South Sudan

    Providing child protection, education and psychosocial support for children and youth in the world's youngest nation

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    2 projects

    1,400,000

    Children affected by conflict

    11,671

    Total Participants

     
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