Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, a maternal aunt to King Willem-Alexander, has been on a working visit to SOS Children’s Villages, her patronage since 1984, in Lebanon on the 11th and 12th of June. As part of the build-up to World Refugee Day on 20 June, she visited projects for child refugees.
Among the locations she travelled to were the Interim Care Center in Khonshara alongside Jan Smit, Ambassador of SOS Children’s Villages since 1999. There, the SOS Children’s Villages helps provide with shelter, food distribution, water, emergency packages, blankets and hygiene kits for children and their families. Her Royal Highness and Mr Smit ate dinner with the children in the care centre after speaking to the staff and being given a tour.
About her short visit to the Middle Eastern country, the Princess said, “SOS Children’s Villages offers psychosocial and medical care to children, and there are case workers who work with the families. It provides complete care without knowing what to do.”
When discussing her work with SOS Children’s Villages with Mr Smit, she complemented his commitment to the project, “He is very involved, really with heart and soul.”
While she was in the Beqaa Valley, Her Royal Highness visited the so-called informal settlements where she beneficiary families of the SOS Family Enhancement Programme and spoke to employees about the work of SOS Children’s Villages in the region. According to the Royal House of the Netherlands, “This is aimed at supporting Syrian (60%) and Lebanese (40%) families in the care of their children to prevent their children from neglecting or abandoning their children due to their difficult living conditions.”
SOS Children’s Villages is in operation in 134 countries and works to ensure that children can grow up in a loving family environment. The Royal House added that part of its “aim is to make families stronger and self-sufficient, and involved in the local community.”