We ask you the same question. Because there are things you can do to help improve the situations for minor refugees on the road. Take action: give your voice, give your money or give your time.
On paper, refugees have the right to apply for asylum in a safe country. But to get there, they have to make a perilous journey. This is the most dangerous for children. If they flee alone, there is no one to protect them against human trafficking and crime, for example.
But they face many more problems on their way. Some countries through which children travel treat them as adults. If the children ask for help, they often have to wait a long time. Sometimes they are even – against the rules – forcibly sent back by countries to where they came from. And once children arrive in a safe country, then there is often little attention for their trauma and for getting used to their new country.
Nobody can agree with the current situation with children on the move. Things have to change! We believe that:
Do you want to know more? Please read the extensive explanation here.
If a child has to flee to another country, the child must be protected and helped in that country.
Changing policy takes a long time, in the meantime you can also do something in other ways. Children need as much support as possible along the way and once the’ve reached the countries of destination, legal, medical and mental help. In many places in Europe where people on the move pass by, people offer help. We highlight three that we know make a huge difference to children on the move. In many places in Europe where refugees pass by, people offer help. We highlight three initiatives that we know make a huge difference to children on the move.
With her ambulance and team of international medical students, Mama Rose provides emergency first aid to people on the move: from plasters on the blisters to toothbrushes and water. Here we met two of the guys from Shadow Game: the Afghan SK and Waqqas, both 15 at the time. They had damaged feet from all the walking. A young Spanish doctor patched them up again.
Tireless restaurateurs Katerina and Nikos have been helping refugees on Lesvos since 2014. From the moment the first boats arrived, they were ready with their delicious food. They saw the need for good food increase as conditions in Camp Moria deteriorated. We met Katerina and Nikos in 2017, while making our movie The Deal. We fell in love with Katerina’s philosophy of life: “If you can help, just do it.” They have become the most heartwarming volunteer organization on Lesvos ‘Home for all’. Every day they provide a nutritious meal and with various activities for minors, taking their minds of the great hell of Moria.
In the border areas in the Balkans and Greece, volunteers from the Border Violence Monitoring Network are active to monitor the violence and register testimonies of victims. Gathering evidence is very important to support potential lawsuits, lobbyists and journalists and to be a listening ear to refugees. Lest we say we didn’t know. The movement is largely run by volunteers in different countries. But money is also needed to guarantee continuity and professionalism. Support the grassroots movement Border Violence Monitoring Network.
Everywhere in Europe organizations are active – small and large – that help children on the move. Many of them work with volunteers. This also applies to the organizations highlighted above. Check out their site what you can do and become a volunteer at:
Or look closer to home. For example, in The Netherlands you can register as a buddy for young adult refugees via the Dutch Council for Refugees. Or use your network for young refugees who want to study or work in the Netherlands via New Dutch Connections founded by Bright Richards.