Our History

Save the Children has been working in Eastern Europe and Eurasia for more than 30 years, and through partners in Ukraine for the last eleven years. In 2014, we launched a direct emergency response in Eastern Ukraine as a result of the conflict between government forces and armed groups in Donbas.

Prior to the conflict, Save the Children’s work in Ukraine focused on building the capacity of local organizations to advocate for children’s rights and work with the Government of Ukraine to fulfil their obligations under the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Save the Children was founded in London in 1919 by Eglantyne Jebb and her sister, Dorothy Buxton. In the century since then, Save the Children organizations have been established in 28 countries around the world. Each of these members is part of the Save the Children International.

Members lead on activities within their home territory and work with donors to develop programs abroad, which are coordinated and delivered by a central body - Save the Children International - via teams on the ground in each country. Save the Children International also oversees humanitarian responses.

This structure enables Save the Children to use its resources efficiently and have the greatest possible impact for children around the world.

Alyona*, 6, has been displaced by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. She has a disability and cannot eat or walk by herself and is cared for by her grandmother. Save the Children has provided the family with a cash grant so they can buy food and clothes for the winter. Photo Hedinn Halldorsson/Save the Children. *Name changed to protect identity.

Timeline

1919
The first Save the Children organization launched in London, UK - the first organization to press for worldwide safeguards for children.

1923
'The Declaration of Geneva', precursor to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, developed by the International Save the Children Union. It is adopted by the League of Nations, predecessor to the UN, in 1924.

1924
There are now 20 member organizations in Save the Children Union.

1939-1945 
During World War II, Save the Children organizations in neutral countries continued to work, often on behalf of sister organizations in countries directly affected by the war.

1989
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the UN. This underpins all Save the Children's work.

2009 
Twenty-nine Save the Children organizations work to secure children's rights and improve children's lives in over 120 countries worldwide. At the members' meeting the ambitious new five-year strategy is agreed, including changing the name to simply Save the Children, demonstrating our commitment to work even more closely together as one organization.

2010 
Save the Children International Board meets for the first time, Save the Children International is created.