Save the Children

The vision of Save the Children is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Its mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Save the Children started by Eglantyne Jebb in 1919 to bring aid to children in war-torn Europe. She wrote the first draft of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Save the Children is a global leader in newborn and child health in educating leaders about the needs of children who die of preventable diseases.


Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. Its vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Its mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.


Historic Roots

Eglantyne Jebb, an Oxford-educated teacher and sociologist, founded the Save the Children Fund in England in 1919 to aid children in war-ravaged central Europe. “We cannot leave defenseless children anywhere exposed to ruin — moral or physical,” she said. “We cannot run the risk that they should weep, starve, despair and die, with never a hand stretched out to help them.”


In 1932, a group of forward-thinking Americans were inspired by Jebb’s vision to establish Save the Children in the United States. The immediate goal was to help the children and families struggling to survive during the Great Depression in the rugged mountains of Appalachia. Since then, at the heart of Save the Children’s philosophy have been the concepts of self-help and self-reliance — the belief that development is a process by which people take charge of their own lives.


Today, in more than 120 countries, including the United States, Save the Children is transforming children’s lives by providing families and communities with the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty. While Save the Children programs are diverse, its mission is singular – to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Save the Children sees its role as that of a catalyst in community evolution. It favors a multi-disciplinary approach, acknowledging that the problems of poverty, illiteracy, and poor health are complex and interrelated. Innovation and experience have been the keys to Save the Children’s success.



As a global leader in newborn and child health, Save the Children has a unique and credible voice on children’s health issues. It is recognized in the technical and global health community for key research and policy work on newborn health and for advocacy on behalf of maternal, newborn, and child health. As a leading contributor to these fields, Save the Children is committed to placing child survival on the agenda of the United States by educating opinion leaders who can encourage greater emphasis and greater media attention given to this global tragedy.


Ties to the Philanthropic Sector

Eglantyne Jebb believed that all people were responsible for taking action for the common good. She advocated for all people coming together to help children. She said in 1928, "Mankind as a whole is responsible for the world as a whole, and the people of every race should unite to get rid of such evils as child slavery, premature marriage, child labor and neglect and starvation of children."


Eglantyne Jebb was not only the founder of Save the Children, she was also the author of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1923). These declarations were adopted by the League of Nations in 1924 and became widely known by nations around the world. Variations of this document have been written and adopted. The most recent version became international law in 1990 and is the basis for the work of Save the Children.


Recognized for its commitment to accountability, innovation and collaboration, Save the Children works in the heart of communities, where it helps children and families help themselves. It works with other organizations, governments, non-profits and a variety of local partners while maintaining independence free of political agenda or religious orientation.


Key Related Ideas

Front line local health workers help children all over the world survive threats like newborn complications, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition. But global estimates suggest the world needs 4.2 million more health workers in developing countries. Sadly, one child dies every three seconds largely from preventable and treatable causes due to the lack of basic health care.


Save the Children and the Ad Council teamed up in 2010 to mobilize U.S. citizens to help local health workers across the world to save more children. Save the Children launched a new interactive web site,, for supporters to learn more about child survival, the role of the local health worker and ways to help. The new site features videos, blog posts and a customized Google map showing how health workers travel in their communities, their village routes, and the children and families they help.


Important People Related to the Topic

In 1931, Mahatma Gandhi signed the Declaration of Geneva, which was the Declaration of the Rights of the Child written by Eglantyne Jebb. He, along with many other great leaders, supported children’s rights.


Save the Children works with many famous individuals to raise awareness of children's situations. In 2008, more than 260 writers from 50 countries spoke out for better education to improve literacy as part of the “Rewrite the Future” campaign. More than 30 Nobel Peace Prize winners also spoke out for better education to build peace.


In 2010, Save the Children hosted a panel discussion and book signing for 100 donors, partners, and friends at the Ana Tzarev Art Gallery. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, moderated a panel which included Anne M. Mulcahy, Save the Children Board Chair and former Chairman and CEO of Xerox; Dr. Abhay Bang, a neonatal expert from India; and Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and author of The Life You Can Save


Former New Jersey Governor, Jon Corzine, co-chairs the Newborn and Child Survival Campaign Council with Senator William Frist from Tennessee.


Save the Children Artist Ambassadors lend their names, faces and personal interests to various Save the Children programs about which they feel particularly passionate, including early education, literacy, and nutritional and disaster relief programs that give a vital boost to children in struggling families and difficult circumstances. Artist Ambassadors include America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Joely Fisher and Randy Jackson.


Related Web Sites


Bibliography and Internet Sources

Save the Children. Available at