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Child refugee crisis: football clubs raise 1.3 million Euros

refugee crisis, lesvos, save the children
Save the Children staff watch one of the hundreds of dinghies that arrive on Lesvos every day. 608,000 people have arrived on the Greek islands in 2015, compared to 40,000 for all of 2014.
© Anna Pantelia / Save the Children

A collection of Europe’s leading football teams have joined forces in support of child refugees across Europe.

As part of an initiative called 90 Minutes for Hope, clubs playing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League donated one Euro from every ticket sold at their first home fixture in each competition to support Save the Children and UNICEF’s response to the European refugee crisis.

Together, they’ve raised an incredible 1.3 million Euros.

A daily struggle to survive

This year, more than 870,000 refugees have arrived in Europe. One fifth of them are children, who’ve faced unimaginable horrors on their journey. Often, they’ve lost everything they have: their homes, their possessions – even their parents.

Tragically, more than 3,500 people have died in search of safety over the past 12 months. But even those who make it to European shores face a daily struggle to survive.

Across Europe, refugees are crammed into overcrowded reception facilities and makeshift shelters, or even worse, sleeping outside, in flimsy tents and unfinished buildings. They’re at risk of illness and disease, and with temperatures dropping and winter now here, the picture is becoming even bleaker.

The money the clubs have raised will help Save the Children and UNICEF provide children with desperately needed supplies like blankets, winter clothes, shelter, water and sanitation, as well as medical and psychological support.

It’ll also help us to provide much-needed technical assistance to strengthen family tracing and reunification efforts, as well as helping us to strengthen the capacity of front line workers, including health and social workers.

“We cannot close our eyes”

The initiative’s been led by the European Club Association, whose Chairman, former World Cup star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, says: “We cannot close our eyes to the dramatic scenes affecting the lives of so many children.

“We are proud to see so many European clubs joining our 90 Minutes for Hope campaign and are very pleased to donate the money raised to Save the Children and UNICEF, two organisations tirelessly working to support desperate refugee children and their families in Europe.”

The darkest days for many child refugees may still lie ahead. Football clubs across Europe have stepped up and shown refugees that they’re welcome here, but we all have a role to play in making sure that the most vulnerable can look forward to a brighter future.

Find out how you can support our Child Refugee Crisis appeal

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