Moving country is a huge change in anyone’s life – and this includes children. With more children moving around the world than ever before, it’s crucial to find ways to support them through this often difficult experience.
Our Childhood on the Move campaign highlighted many of the reasons why children leave their home. Sometimes it is voluntary, and other times forced; driven by reasons such as poverty, war, lack of opportunity or natural disaster. Often children arrive at a destination only to be returned to their country of origin against their wishes by a foreign government.
Whether arriving in a new country (integration) or being sent back to their country of origin (reintegration), the changes to a child’s life are immense. New languages, new cultures and new communities can all be part of a period of adjustment; a period that can mark a child’s future in many different ways.
Understanding what works
To help support children on the move, we are delighted to be embarking on a major new project supported with funds from Comic Relief.
The project will bring together those working with children moving between the Middle East and Europe, particularly in countries significantly affected by child migration, such as Lebanon and Greece.
The project will work in two phases over three years.
The ‘Learning’ phase will provide an opportunity to review practice and existing research across the region, sharing lessons and generating new knowledge about how children can be better supported. This will include consultation with those with lived experience of the issues, such as migrant children and their families.
The ‘Tools and Guidance’ phase will then build on this to develop new resources for people who work with children, helping them improve services and support, and advocate for change more effectively.
A better support system
Through this two-phase project, we aim to create real system change so that children on the move can do so in ways that foster a brighter future as fully integrated members of society. In doing so, no one will be left behind – creating vibrant and healthy communities for all.