Taking local action against family separation
Around the world, millions of children are living a life on the move. Some children leave home to access rights and opportunities elsewhere; whereas other children are forced into moving to avoid war or conflict, to escape natural disasters, or for other reasons.
Unfortunately, a childhood on the move is also more likely to be a childhood growing up without family care. Some children leave the family environment in order to find work or live independently, whereas others become separated unexpectedly due to dangerous journeys, border policies and other factors. Family separation has an extremely damaging and traumatic impact on children, increasing exposure to both physical and psychological harm.
We’re campaigning in seven countries to make sure that children on the move are able to experience childhood as part of a safe and caring family environment. This means both tackling the root causes leading to family separation, as well as helping children who are already living alone to access the opportunity of living in a family environment once again.
Collectively, these locally-driven action campaigns form our international Childhood On The Move Initiative.
Where we’re campaigning
In Bangladesh, children often begin living on the street as a result of family poverty, which drives them to find work; or because of other reasons such as parental neglect. We will be tackling these issues through community engagement with children and families. Through this, we will raise awareness of the issues faced by children on the move, while building knowledge of child rights and parental responsibilities.
In Colombia, we are calling for greater support from the government and NGOs in areas where indigenous, Afro-Colombian and mixed-race children and families find themselves following forced migration and displacement. This support needs to be set up to guarantee access to their rights, including healthcare and education.
In Ghana, we work to prevent children from being trafficked into exploitative labour practices in the country’s fishing industry on Lake Volta; and to rescue these children once they are already there. Our campaign will work to prevent further family separation by tackling root causes, including poverty.
In Greece, unaccompanied migrant children often find themselves living in institutional care. We run a foster family programme, and are campaigning to attract new foster parents so more children have the opportunity to live in a safe and caring family environment.
In Guatemala, a recent study found that one-third of the population was planning to migrate. We are creating a campaign directed primarily at young people themselves, teaching them about the issue of family separation and how to prevent it, as well as how families can be supported to become reunified if they do become separated.
In Mexico, migrant children who are either passing through or settling in the country often find themselves living in institutional care, or without any adult care. We have established a successful foster care programme for these children, and are providing training and support to other organisations to ensure that the system can reach more children nationwide.
In Nepal, over a million children are living or working on the street. We are working in schools to education children on the reality of a life on the move, to reduce the chances that they will leave their family home. We are also working with parents to deliver a programme to educate them on positive parenting to prevent family break-up. These will be complemented by TV and radio campaigns that direct children already living on the street to a helpine so they can get support when they need it, including help to reintegrate themselves into their families and communities of origin.
Guatemala: Children on the move need cross-border collaboration
Launching the Childhood On The Move Initiative
Want to learn more?
To learn more about our Childhood On The Move Initiative, or to collaborate with us, please contact us.