How you played your part for 22.1 million children in 2016
– in six extraordinary stories

Behind the global upheaval of 2016, children were thrown into turmoil by political uncertainty, war, natural disaster and ruthless inequality around the world.

You were there for them in their darkest moments, and we want you to meet some of them now.

That was the moment a rescue ship you paid for emerged on the horizon of the Mediterranean Sea, and prepared to lift Fadi's family to safety.

Fadi had paid smugglers almost everything they had for the crossing, but the boat was flimsy and the engine failed. Then Amena – who has a heart condition and severe asthma – ran out of oxygen.

Another hour and Amena would have died out there. But when our rescue team arrived, they saw she was at extreme risk and hoisted her up first for urgent treatment. Amena was later airlifted to a hospital in Italy where she's recovered well.

Our rescue ship – the first in our history – has one simple aim: to rescue children in danger of drowning, with your help.

You were there for child refugees in other ways too in 2016: more than 60,000 of you signed a petition that helped reverse a policy on refugee children alone in Europe. The fight to protect them continues.

You helped us rescue 435
children at sea in 2016. Most were travelling alone.

Selim is just a boy but he's forced to live on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh's teeming capital city.

Every day is a struggle to survive. Every night brings fear and danger – Selim's only shelter is Kamalapur train station. He has a tough exterior, full of bravado, but is too afraid to sleep alone.

We met Selim through a shelter we run with a local organisation. It provides beds for 30 children, counselling, healthy food and education.

Children who come also get special training about the dangers they face on the streets: how to protect themselves from physical and sexual violence, and the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS.

Your support has got many children like Selim back into school and shelter around the world.

You helped
323,000 children
stay safe from
harm and abuse

At our centre, children like Selim get a place to stay, healthy food, counselling and the chance to learn

Early one morning Shelidia arrived at one of 180 vaccination sites we set up with our partners across the DRC.

Her grandma brought her because the jabs were free – any charge and they’d be forced to take their chances against yellow fever. There's no reliable cure but its symptoms are appalling. Headaches, fever, vomiting, kidney failure, bleeding from the eyes and mouth, and death.

Poor, hungry and neglected children are most vulnerable to disease. But our health and nutrition teams were on the frontline of the fight to save lives. With your help more than half a million people got the vaccination in just a few weeks in August 2016.

It's one example of how you helped children get life-saving healthcare. In 2016, in countries around the world our health workers delivered vital treatment and medicines to 5.8 million children. It would be impossible to imagine this kind of success without your support.

You helped 270,000 children get yellow fever vaccinations

“We lived in love and harmony,” says Abdul. He, his wife Safaa and their two small boys were forced to flee the world they’d built together when bullets and airstrikes rained down on their neighbourhood in Syria.

Having experienced things no child should ever go through – five-year-old Yaman stopped speaking. His little brother, Mohammed, began having regular fits.

But they made it to safety in Za’atari refugee camp. There Yaman plays with other children in the kindergarten you support. He still has a stammer and needs more specialist support, but Yaman's safe from immediate danger and tentatively starting to speak again.

In other countries too, children faced the terror of war. In Yemen, hospitals were bombed and many health services completely collapsed. In South Sudan children faced violence, displacement and food shortages.

But your support means our teams can provide protection and life-saving supplies. And safe spaces where children can play and start to come to terms with what they've been through.

In 2016 you helped 933,035 children in war-torn Syria, Yemen and
South Sudan.

“I love to learn,” says Amina, 12, who lives in a camp in war-ravaged Somalia and is the first of her family to attend school.

It's a school you helped us build. Of 375 children who attend, 120 are girls, and we're still making progress – helping girls beat the odds.

Whatever children's circumstances, wherever they grow up, education offers the chance of a future. Yet across Somalia, less than half of children go to school – and of those, only one in three are girls. We can and will do more.

You helped 6.2 million
children through our education programmes

Family tragedy, bad luck and added responsibilities – including caring for her own mother – had left Kelly struggling.

Now pregnant with her own baby, Kelly was worried her family wouldn't be able to manage when her little one was born.

But since she found out about our 'Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play!' programme and received a buggy, a cot and bedding for little Lucas-Gary, Kelly says a weight has been lifted.

Kelly and Lucas-Gary

Kelly and Lucas-Gary

For struggling families there's little let-up. Whether your child gets a great start in life could even be affected by your postcode, and the quality of the nursery they're given a place at.

Your support for our work on the ground and campaigns for equality in nursery education is making a difference to government policy. And giving families like Lucas-Gary's a helping hand in their hour of greatest need.

You helped 23,000 UK children with education programmes
and support at home

"It’s not enough to care, you have to act. And last year for children in the UK and around the world, you did just that.

"Without you we couldn’t have been there for Amena, Yaman, Selim, Shelidia, Amina and Lucas-Gary when they needed us. Or for all the other children you supported in 2016. So thank you.

"We have even more ambitious plans for 2017."

Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children

Read our full annual reports for 2016 or get involved in our work.

Some names have been changed to protect identities.

Amena – we were able to pull her from the water just in time, thanks to your support in 2016