Children have long moved to Europe seeking safety, opportunity, or creating links with other countries and societies. However, the journey to a better and safer life can be a difficult and dangerous one for many migrant and refugee children. At least 23,000 children and adolescents arrived in Europe in 2021, escaping conflict, violence, poverty or environmental degradation, approximately 10 per cent arrived unaccompanied.
The bridge to belonging looks at what happens after these children have arrived at their European destination. What does it mean to integrate into a new society when you are a child on your own? How do they face the challenges of building an identity without their families, process the violence and dangers of their journeys, and face a new situation that may not be as welcoming or straightforward as they had expected? How do the receiving communities change? And what can be done to make this a smoother process for everyone?
Focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean migration route, the report is built on interviews with key informants, a literature review, and research in three sites (Lebanon, Greece and Germany). It provides an extensive list of recommendations for service providers, child welfare workers, civil society groups, local and national authorities, and the European Commission. The research forms part of a wider project which will culminate in a toolkit for practitioners and advocacy platform, with the ultimate aim of improving the integration of unaccompanied children.
Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen, METAdrasi, Naba’a