9 Best Charities That Help Child Refugees (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Help Child Refugees (Complete 2022 List)

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Eniola Adeeko

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Millions of families around the world have been displaced from their homes because of conflict and violence. As a result, more than 13.7 million children are now refugees. Fortunately, many charitable groups are fighting to support and protect the rights of these young refugees. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that help child refugees?

The best charities that help child refugees are Save the Children and the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Charities such as Kids in Need of Defense and the International Rescue Mission provide free legal representation and welfare assistance to young refugees.

Whether you want to support unaccompanied young refugees, or fight for the rights of children looking for a home in a foreign country, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that help child refugees are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Help Child Refugees Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission and their positive impact on the lives of young refugees. They have excellent financial and transparency ratings, and are committed to assisting child refugees from around the world.

Many of these charities offer free family reunification and legal services to unaccompanied minors who have escaped from violent conflict and extreme poverty. Some also advocate for more child-friendly immigration laws and policies to make it easier for child refugees to resettle in new countries. Yet, they all share the same goal; to provide vital support to vulnerable child refugees.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Help Child Refugees

Below are our favorite charities that help child refugees:

  • Save the Children
  • Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
  • Kids in Need of Defense
  • International Rescue Mission
  • Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
  • Young Roots
  • Refugee Council
  • Safe Passage

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Save the Children: Every Child Deserves a Future

Save the Children was founded in 1919 by Eglantyne Jebb to provide food and medical supplies to children affected by World War I. Today, they are a global charity working to ensure that all children are healthy, safe, and educated, including child refugees.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Save the Children has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.”

Save the Children

What they do: Save the Children advocates for the rights of children seeking asylum in the US from neighboring countries by campaigning against unjust immigration policies. They also provide technical expertise on child protection, education, and infant feeding to shelter partners and social service agencies for the welfare of child refugees along the US borders. Outside of the US, they run emergency response programs to provide immediate aid to vulnerable child refugees and their families, such as those in Ukraine, including food, water, hygiene kits, and psychotherapy support. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Save the Children has continued to protect the rights of children worldwide and keep them from harm. For example, they supported over 2.6 million child refugees from Syria and surrounding communities with food, shelter, water access to medical care, education and child protection. They also provided essential services to over 600,000 children at the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. Furthermore, they ensure that over 280,000 children are fed regularly, and there are adequate learning spaces for over 13,800 children.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Save the Children directly through their website. You can also show support by joining their Title 42 campaign to restore asylum for children and families displaced by conflict. In addition, you can join their campaign to provide access to quality education to child refugees in the US.

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project: Freedom Cannot Be Detained

The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project was established in 1989 by Chris Brelje to provide free legal services to immigrants and refugees at risk of deportation in the US. Today, they provide free legal and social services to detained child refugees facing immigration removal proceedings.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“When we work together, freedom cannot be detained.”

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

What they do: The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project directly represents unaccompanied children who have crossed the US border. They also support child refugees detained by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in deportation proceedings. In addition, they provide age-appropriate legal education to help the children understand what to expect in the immigration courts, including roleplay activities. Furthermore, they assist children with gaining asylum and special immigrant juvenile visas.

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project has continued to provide free legal and social services to immigrants and child refugees in the US. For example, in 2021, they provided full legal representation to 490 children. They also offered legal education through their “Know Your Rights” presentations to 11,495 unaccompanied children. In addition, they assisted 135 unaccompanied children below the age of 5 with free legal services, medical aid, and psychological care.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project through their website. You can also assist them by volunteering as a pro bono attorney, medical professional, or administrative assistant.

Kids in Need of Defense: Protecting Children Alone

Kids in Need of Defense was founded in 2008 by the Microsoft corporation and Angelina Jolie to provide free legal representation to unaccompanied minors. Today, the charity ensures that more child refugees and immigrants can find a home in the US or return to their communities safely.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Kids in Need of Defense holds a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“A world in which children’s rights and well-being are protected as they migrate alone in search of safety.”

Kids in Need of Defense

What they do: Kids in Need of Defense partners with attorneys to provide free legal services to child refugees in the immigration courts. They also help immigrant children across the US settle in their new country by providing essential medical aid, mental health care, and crisis intervention. In addition, they educate legislators so they can support laws that protect children, improve safety in Central America, and provide fair access to the US immigration system.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Kids in Need of Defense has had over 29,000 cases referred to them. With the partners comprising over 755 law firms, attorneys, and corporations, they provide free legal assistance to 5,000 children in deportation proceedings annually. For example, in 2021, they provided over 4,500 children with individual consultations or screenings for legal services. They also taught 33,000 children, housed at emergency intake sites, about the immigration process and their legal rights.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Kids in Need of Defense through their website. You can also support them by volunteering as an interpreter or translator or by becoming a pro bono attorney.

International Rescue Committee: Empowering People in Crisis and Beyond

The International Rescue Committee was established in 1933 by Albert Einstein to help refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany, including child refugees. Today, they operate around the globe to tackle the most severe refugee crises. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The International Rescue Committee has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster, including the climate crisis, to survive, recover and gain control over the future.”

International Rescue Committee

What they do: The International Rescue Committee supports people whose lives have been upended by conflict, natural disasters, and wars. For example, they provide young refugees with safe, quality educational opportunities to acquire the skills they need to thrive in their new communities. They also offer access to proper healthcare to refugee children and families resettled in the US by empowering local health workers. Furthermore, they build safe shelters and communities for child refugees and families affected by violence.

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the International Rescue Committee has remained dedicated to supporting people whose lives have been affected by conflict, including child refugees. For example, in 2021, they reached 31.5 million people in different countries affected by crises. Through their health facilities, they also provided free medical treatment to 155,528 young children suffering from acute malnutrition. In addition, they enrolled 370,771 child refugees and youth in learning programs.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the International Refugee Committee through their website. You can also support them by fundraising or volunteering at their offices in person or remotely. In addition, you can speak up to ensure that the US admits more child refugees annually. 

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: Protecting and Empowering All Migrants and Refugees

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service was established in 1939 to aid Lutheran refugees fleeing conflict zones in Europe during World War II. Today, they provide support to child refugees and immigrant families in the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service scores 100 out of 100 for financial and transparency ratings from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“As a witness to God’s love for all people, we stand with and advocate for migrants and refugees, transforming communities through ministries of service and justice.”

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

What they do: The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service provides resettlement support and welfare assistance to refugees and migrants in the US. They also unite unaccompanied child refugees and migrants with their families and ensure that they are well cared for. In addition, they provide transitional and long-term foster care services for refugee minors in the US. While in foster care, these children have access to legal services, healthcare, mental health support, counseling, and education. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has supported over 500,000 refugees and immigrants in the US. They have also successfully placed thousands of unaccompanied refugee minors from all over the world in foster care, group homes, and semi-independent living settings. In addition, they prevent child trafficking through their Home Study and Post-Release Program that ensures vulnerable unaccompanied children with special needs or circumstances can live in safety and stability.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or becoming a foster parent.  

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights: We Stand in the Justice Gap

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights was founded in 2004 by Maria Woltjen to advocate for the best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children. Today, they continue to provide legal services to unaccompanied young refugees seeking a home in the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

Scores 100 out of 100 for financial and transparency ratings from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights protects and advances the rights and best interests of immigrant children according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and state and federal law.”

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

What they do: The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights promotes the best interests of young refugees and immigrants in the US. They do this by advocating for immigration laws and policies that favor and apply to children. They have also launched a Technical Assistance Program to support children caught between the federal immigration system and state court systems. Furthermore, they offer multidisciplinary case consultations and training to children’s state court advocates and direct service providers.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

has worked to ensure that children’s rights are protected in immigration proceedings. For example, in 2020, they advocated for the best interests of 1,213 children from 41 countries in immigration and resettlement cases. In addition, 85% of the 714 best interests recommendations they submitted to immigration officials and judges were adopted.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights through their website. You can also assist this nonprofit organization by volunteering.

Young Roots: Supporting Young Refugees to Fulfill Their Potential

Young Roots was established in 2004 by Roz Evans, Rachel Yarrow, and Kathy Brook to support refugee children in the UK and around the world. Today, they continue to raise funds for and assist young refugees worldwide.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Young Roots spent 83% of their total income on charitable activities.

“We want to work alongside young people and support them to improve their wellbeing and life chances.”

Young Roots

What they do: Young Roots operates weekly advice and support hubs to integrate youth and sporting activities with one-to-one casework service and access to expert legal and therapeutic support. They also provide social and physical activities for unaccompanied refugee girls that focus on personal development, such as a basketball project, poetry project, or mental health sessions. In addition, they provide basic welfare support to newly arrived unaccompanied young male refugees in the UK.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Young Roots has assisted child refugees through services and activities developed for and with young people. For example, in 2021, they supported 739 children through their casework service, youth and sporting activities, and their advice and support hubs. They also provided English language mentoring sessions to 153 young refugees. In addition, they worked with their partners to provide legal and therapeutic support to 67 young refugees.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Young Roots through their website. You can also support them by fundraising or volunteering.

Refugee Council: Welcoming Refugees

The Refugee Council was founded in 1951 to help World War II refugees find safety in other countries. Today, they support refugees from around the world to help them rebuild their lives and integrate into society.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, the Refugee Council spent about 82% of their total income on charitable activities.

“Refugees are welcome to live safe and fulfilling lives contributing to the UK.”

Refugee Council

What they do: The Refugee Council is a national charity offering support to all unaccompanied refugee children seeking safety in England. For example, through their Age Dispute Project, they provide free legal support to young refugees below 18 to help them resolve disputes about their ages. They also run weekly cricket sessions to help child refugees develop an interest and form a bond around sports. In addition, they operate My View, a specialist mental health service for refugee children and young people who arrive in the UK on their own.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Refugee Council has continued to help unaccompanied young refugees with welfare and asylum support in the UK. For example, in 2021, they helped 397 children refugees obtain access to education. They also provided 40 weekly cricket sessions to encourage the children to play cricket and form solid friendships. In addition, they resolved age disputes for 204 young refugees, which resulted in the refugees being considered as children.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Refugee Council through their website. You can also support them by starting a fundraiser or volunteering.

Safe Passage: Everybody Has a Right to Be Safe

Safe Passage was founded in 2015 by a group of lawyers, faith leaders, and community organizers to provide welfare and legal support to refugees and children in the Calais jungle. Today, they continue to use strategic litigation, casework, community organizing, and advocacy to open safe, legal routes for those seeking sanctuary. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Safe Passage spent 80% of their total income on charitable activities.

“We champion the rights of refugees and displaced people as they flee persecution, using the law to help them access a safe route to a place of safety. We work alongside refugees to campaign for change and build public support for safe passage for all.”

Safe Passage

What they do: Safe Passage helps to reunite child refugees with their families through a safe route to a place where they can rebuild their lives. They do this by providing free advice and legal representation to unaccompanied refugee children and separated families in family reunion applications. They also advocate for refugee rights and legal routes to safety through grassroot campaigning

What they’ve achieved: Safe Passage is committed to opening safe and legal routes for child refugees and those seeking asylum. For example, in 2020, they provided legal representation to 154 children and adults seeking a new home in a foreign country. They also got 330,000 people to sign their petition for safe routes for child refugees and other people fleeing from war zones. In addition, they reunited 47 children with their families.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Safe Passage through their website. You can also assist the charity by volunteering.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that help child refugees. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to helping child refugees – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Eniola

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Eniola Adeeko

Eniola loves to research and write about providing humanitarian aid and access to proper education and literacy to underprivileged children around the world. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and volunteers with her local Red Cross chapter. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading novels, cooking new dishes, and creating podcasts.

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