Last year, more than a million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe in search of safety and a better life. Approximately half of them were children. Many are travelling with their families, while others are on their own.
Many are fleeing violence and poverty in countries like Afghanistan and Eritrea, but the brutal war in Syria has been the single biggest driver, as desperate families look for a safe home for their children.
Putting the rights and needs of children first
We are working on the ground to ensure that programmes and policies in response to the crisis put the rights and needs of all children first.
It is our aim to find long-term solutions to ensure that families can stay together and that refugee and migrant children are not deprived of their childhood.
We are providing humanitarian aid in transit countries, including distributing food and water and establishing Child-Friendly Spaces where children can play and benefit from psychosocial support.
In countries where refugees are trying to find new homes, we work to ensure there are long-term solutions that help them settle – providing counselling, language courses and educational and vocational opportunities.
Giving a voice to those without one
We are also advocating that the rights of child refugees and migrants be protected. We believe protecting child refugees and migrants, and especially unaccompanied or separated children, must be a priority.
Andreas Papp of our Emergency Response team says:
"No matter how difficult the context is we can always do something to improve the situation of a child. We need to listen to their voices and do the utmost we can to improve their situation. We have to let children be children."
At a glance – how we're helping refugees across Europe and the Middle East
Thanks to your support, we have:
- Cared for 1,100 unaccompanied or separated children in our interim care centres and Children's Villages
- Run 13 Child-Friendly Spaces where children can escape the chaos of life on the road
- Distributed hundreds of thousands of food parcels, hygiene packs and items of clothing
- Organised four mobile response teams who are able to travel quickly and easily to areas of greatest need
- Set up six ICT corners offering phone charging services and internet access allowing refugees to re-connect with family members and find out information about the next stage of their journey
- Provided counselling services to traumatised children and their parents.
There are so many more children who desperately need your help.