War Child UK was founded in 1993 by film-makers David Wilson and Bill Leeson. On assignment in the former-Yugoslavia during the Bosnian war, they were horrified by the violence and ethnic cleansing they witnessed. And especially its impact on children. When they got home to the UK, they were equally shocked to see the apathy and inaction of political leaders regarding the massacres on their European doorstep.
So War Child was born.
Instead of relying on politicians, we looked to music and high-profile pop stars to help publicise the plight of children caught up in war. Our first War Child aid convoy delivered desperately-needed supplies to the besieged people of Mostar in Bosnia. And we set up a mobile bakery that produced tens of thousands of loaves of bread per day.
War Child’s projects have expanded to reach conflict zones across the world, wherever children are caught up in wars – whether they’ve lost their homes, families, schools, or been forced to take part in atrocities. Our work has evolved from temporary food aid to ongoing, sustainable projects that improve the long-term outcomes for the most vulnerable and marginalised children in conflict areas. We aim to reach children as early as possible when conflict breaks out and stay on to support them—long after the TV cameras have gone home.
We understand children’s needs, respect their rights, and put them at the centre of everything we do. We help keep them safe, give them an education, and equip them with skills for the future. We also work with children and young people to change systems and practices that affect them. We campaign on the root causes of conflict, and we demand that children are at the centre of all humanitarian responses.
Our vital, life-changing work covers four main areas:
With more than 20 years experience, we’re acknowledged as experts at what we do and a leading voice in the sector.
We’re still the only charity dedicated to protecting and speaking up for children affected by war.