Humanitarian Response

Children line up to receive relief supplies from Save the Children in the aftermath of the Ya’an earthquake that struck Sichuan province in April 2013.

When disaster strikes, Save the Children in China works with local authorities and civil society organisations to ensure that children’s needs are taken into account.  We do so by:


We provide immediate relief to affected children and families in the form of child-friendly emergency supplies, such aschild-sized protective clothing, feeding bowls, and utensils, as well as blankets, torches, and makeshift shelters.  In the crucial moments before more comprehensive healthcare can be secured, we distribute hygiene essentials such as washbasins, towels, soap, and toothbrushes/toothpaste to families.  We also provide breastfeeding mothers with the facilities necessary to keep feeding their babies, and offer nutritional supplements to young children.

Overcoming Distress: In order to ensure the emotional well-being of children in the face of trauma, we train caregivers to provide the necessary emotional support to children following a disaster.  Our proprietary Psychosocial First Aid intervention teaches children to process their grief and anger in healthy and productive ways.  Given the chance to play, talk, and express their feelings in a safe and receptive environment, children have a better chance at reclaiming a sense of normalcy to their lives.

Returning Children to School: We gather and distribute resources to aid schools and early childhood care centres in reopening as soon as possible.  In order to engage our youngest victims, we provide educational toy kits, and facilitate the training of early childhood care professionals through playgroups.  Our HEART (Healing and Education Through the Arts) program encourages children to express and regulate their emotions through activities such as painting, sculpting, dancing.  By exercising their minds and bodies in guided endeavours, children learn to cope with stress and improve their self-esteem, while improving their cognitive, social, and physical skills.

We also distribute back-to-school kits to current students, which include essential school items such as notebooks and backpacks.


Preventative action can be just as useful in minimizing long-term damage to communities as a timely emergency response.  We take proactive measures to aid schools and communities in minimizing risks, and encourage children to lead risk identification exercises.

We also train networks of local civil society organizations to provide professional, child-focused interventions.  In doing so, we hope to equip communities with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves against future disasters.