Sir Nicholas Winton organised for 669 children to be rescued from Czechoslovakia in 1939. The children, mostly Jewish, were refugees from the Nazis and were given a new home in Britain.
A modest hero
We only know about this exceptional act of compassion and heroism because Sir Nicholas kept a notebook with the names and photographs of those children he rescued.
The BBC used this book to track them down for a reunion with Sir Nicholas nearly 50 years later. In the video below, you can see the incredible moment they were reunited live on TV.
Estimates suggest that the descendants of ‘Nicky’s Children’ now number more than 6,000. How incredible to think that one man could have done so much good and sought so little recognition.
Following Sir Nicholas’s example
Sir Nicholas died earlier this year at the age of 106. He’s been cited as the inspiration for many of those offering to help children who’ve been affected by the current refugee crisis.
His daughter Barbara has summed up what she thinks her father’s response might be to today’s situation: “Just because we can’t help everybody, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help somebody.”
At Save the Children, we couldn’t agree more. Every day, every hour, is a chance to help somebody.
Today’s refugee crisis
Right now, our teams are working across Europe and in the countries refugees are fleeing from. Whenever and wherever a child is in danger, we want them to know that help is coming. But we need our government to step up too.
The Department for International Development’s record of giving aid is extraordinary and we welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrians. However, these pledges don’t deal with the images we are seeing on TV day in, day out.
Our news is dominated by the plight of people who are making desperate, dangerous journeys to Europe – those who are waiting and, in some cases, dying on our doorstep.
Resettling 3,000 children
Save the Children is particularly concerned about the children who have made it to Europe all alone. We think the government should offer 3,000 of these children a second chance at safety in Britain.
The government has argued that children are safe once they are in Europe. But this is wrong – as this six-minute BBC piece shows.
Lone children are at risk of exploitation and abuse and our campaign to get 3,000 of them to safety has some big backers. The Sun newspaper has lent its support and 70 charities and NGOs have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister.
If you want to lend your own support, please sign up to our campaign and retweet the image below.
— Save the Children UK (@savechildrenuk) September 16, 2015
Every child should be able to dream
Most importantly of all, we need to remind people that behind every headline about faceless numbers there are the stories of individual children.
Perhaps the most inspiring yet is that of Noujain Mustaffa, a 16-year-old wheelchair user, who “wants to be an astronaut, and meet the Queen and to prove to anyone that dreams really can come true”.
And they can, can’t they?