PROTECTION ASSISTANCE FOR CHILDREN ON THE MOVE IN LESVOS
This year alone, more than 500,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean sea, out of which 23% are estimated to be children. Children are at heightened risks of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation and of facing high levels of stress as a result. As part of the response to this unprecedented refugee and migrant crisis in Greece, the NGOs PRAKSIS and Save the Children International have joined forces to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable children, to promote children’s rights and to provide urgent protection services to children on the move.
Since October 2015, the two organisations are working in close partnership on the island of Lesvos, within the framework of the project ‘Protection Assistance for Children on the Move’ aimed at enhancing the protection of children and their families through increased access to information and services. The project offers a range of protection services to vulnerable families, children at risk, including unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in Lesvos where thousands of refugees and migrants arrive through sea on a daily basis.
At the two main refugee and migrant transit sites in Moria and Kara Tepe, a multi-disciplinary team of PRAKSIS and Save the Children engages in urgently needed basic identification, documentation, psychosocial support, information provision and legal counselling for children on the move. Strong focus is placed on identifying the most vulnerable children, including those who are unaccompanied, and referring them to the appropriate care and support services. Child Friendly Spaces have also been set up in the two locations, where specialised staff offer recreational and psychosocial activities for children during transit periods and long registration waits.
Moreover, the project includes a transit accommodation facility to host and provide temporary care to the most vulnerable identified unaccompanied children. The goal of this facility is to ensure a safe environment where unaccompanied children can stay and receive care and protection support until official procedures are finalised for their transfer to more permanent accommodation structures on the mainland in Greece. To achieve these goals, PRAKSIS and Save the Children work in close collaboration with the competent authorities and other relevant organisations.