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Save the Children launches its biggest ever appeal to protect children from COVID-19

Save the Children | London | 7 April 2020

"We have all watched in horror as the COVID-19 outbreak has turned lives at home and overseas upside down."

Save the Children has launched a fundraising appeal for vulnerable children affected by Coronavirus in the UK and around the world. In the UK, it will fund a series of initiatives to support those children most in need during this unprecedented time of social and economic upheaval. 

The charity announced a new emergency grants programme in the UK to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, which aims to reach thousands of struggling families who are feeling the economic effects of the unfolding situation most acutely.

The programme will make sure families have access to early learning resources, as well as goods like tables and beds, to help build home environments in which children can continue learn and thrive. The programme will also support vulnerable families with gifts in kind and food vouchers, to help them make ends meet.

This appeal comes as Save the Children warns that the global coronavirus pandemic threatens to devastate children’s health and education, and cause unprecedented protection needs. In the largest appeal in its 100-year-history, the agency is aiming to raise $100 million, globally, to keep children and their families safe during the global COVID-19 outbreak, the most serious threat to global health and security in modern times.

Some of these funds will go to help families in need in the UK.

Since the start of the outbreak, Save the Children has continued to respond to the needs of communities in countries impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, including China, the US and across Europe. As the Coronavirus pandemic now accelerates across lower income countries, with new cases expected to reach 10,000 across Africa this week, the agency is warning that failure to act now in countries across south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa could result in the loss of three million people’s lives.

CEO of Save the Children, Kevin Watkins, said: “We have all watched in horror as the COVID-19 outbreak has turned lives at home and overseas upside down. The pandemic is now spreading everywhere, further crippling fragile health systems where children in many countries are already missing out on life saving treatment for malaria, pneumonia and malnutrition. It will leave many children without caregivers, out of school and in danger. We only have a matter of weeks to take swift action, that will determine how many lives we can save.”

With the funds raised, Save the Children will strengthen its work for children so they can withstand the impact of the virus and it will protect the most vulnerable children in countries hardest hit by the virus, especially children living in poverty, refugees, displaced families, communities in conflict and crisis areas and girls. This includes increasing support for national health systems, standing by families facing loss of earnings caused by isolation measures, supporting unaccompanied children, and ensuring children can continue to get an education.

Save the Children warns the youngest generation will be deeply impacted by the outbreak. Already, an estimated 1.5 billion children and students are out of school with their chances of return diminishing each day closures continue. In many of the world’s poorest communities, as poverty deepens, children may be forced to work and adolescent girls forced into early marriage. Unsupervised children are at increased protection risks and, children who face domestic violence and abuse now face prolonged periods at home, whilst access to support services are reduced.

Worldwide, Save the Children works with half a million community health workers in 44 countries to deliver vital health services – the agency aims to support them in recognising symptoms and preventing COVID-19, and to train another 100,000 in the coming six months. It will work with local communities to deliver training and protective equipment so that prevention measures can be ramped up, and cases can be identified early, referred for treatment and where possible, isolated.

Mr Watkins continued: “This crisis will test us like we have not been tested before. As the world shuts down borders and fragile healthcare systems buckle under the pressure of the pandemic, preparedness and efforts to slow the infection rate will mean the difference between life and death. Families may not have access to healthcare, clean water, and may suffer language or literacy barriers. We must ensure they have the support and information they need to protect themselves. This is vital for all, because no one is safe until everyone is safe.”


For more information contact, please contact media@savethechildren.org.uk, or call our out-of-hours media line on 07831 650409.

Note to editors:

  • To protect a generation of children from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, Save the Children has launched its Agenda for Action – a five point plan for a coordinated community, national and global action on five fronts to avert a catastrophe that could affect the lives of millions of children. 

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