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The meaning of friendship

The meaning of friendship

This World Friendship Day, we celebrate the power of growing up with great friends.

I speak to my best friends every day. Whether something important has happened that I need to discuss, or there’s a silly story about my day that I just have to share, talking to my friends means everything to me.

This World Friendship Day, as well as celebrating the amazing friends I have in my life, I want to share the story of two best friends, Akim and Lim, who I met earlier this year.

Their story shows the incredible impact friendship can have on the lives of children living in the toughest circumstances – and why making friends is such an important part of growing up.

Akim and Lim are refugees from South Sudan, and their childhood hasn't been easy. In their young lives they’ve already faced conflict and hunger.

When they fled South Sudan they left everything behind and had to walk for weeks to get to safety across the border. But here in the camps they’ve found each other.

The sound of laughter everywhere

Akim and Lim met at the child-friendly space we run in the refugee camps in Ethiopia, thanks to the support of players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

As soon as you walk in, the sound of children’s laughter is everywhere. It’s the sound of joy, of having time to play, and it buzzes as you walk around.

Akim and Lim play together here every day. Their favourite things to do include playing football, drawing and reading together.

Spending the day with them, their friendship was clear to see. They were always giggling, playing together and holding hands as they walked.   

Seeing them spend time together reminded me just how important friendships are in our lives – and the huge difference child-friendly spaces make in refugee camps, like those in Ethiopia.

These are much-needed places, where children can come to learn, play, and have the chance to be children again. As Akim told me, “we feel happy and safe here.”

Alongside support from players of the People's Postcode Lottery, our response to the South Sudanese refugee crisis in Ethiopia has been funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office (ECHO). Find out more about how we respond to disasters here >

Supporting children in conflict zones

find out more about our Children's Emergency Fund