World Refugee Day 2022: Hope for vulnerable children and families
The ECPC shines a spotlight on the youngest and most vulnerable refugees and their families
By Aditi Shrikhande — June 20, 2022
World Refugee Day
The Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) and its member organizations join with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and supporters from around the world on June 20 in celebrating “World Refugee Day 2022”. This annual international day “celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution”(See: UNHCR World Refugee Day). In observance of this day, the ECPC shines a spotlight on the youngest most vulnerable refugees and their families.
UNHCR reported that at the end of 2021, 89.3 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide “as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, or events seriously disturbing public order”. Of these, 37 million are children below the age of eighteen. (See UNHCR data finder.)
Children on the move
The Consortium recognizes that children on the move are at great risk of their immediate and long-term development and well-being being impaired by the adverse effects of conflict, stress, and uncertainty. It is committed to sharing scientific and practice-based evidence on how investment in early childhood development and caregiver support can contribute to social cohesion, social justice, and rebuilding individual and community resilience, particularly in refugee contexts.
The ECPC connects and combines the expertise of its member organizations to amplify the response for young refugees, for instance around mental health, social and emotional well-being, and family protection. In response to refugee crises triggered by the conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and more in 2022, ECPC member organizations have taken action across the globe. These include:
- Yale Professor James F. Leckman, co-launched a global network of mental health care experts and researchers who are developing high-quality, trauma-informed, and scalable training materials for personnel working with refugee children and families.
- Implementing members have created resources to support child refugees, like Sesame Workshop, which created a series of multi-cultural, child-friendly resources on displacement and resettlement.
- UNICEF established Blue Dot hubs to offer refugee women and children, safety and essential services.
- The NGO Committee on Migration is advocating for initiatives, systems, and resettlement resources to better support refugees and migrants; in observance of World Refugee Day this year, they are calling on governments for a cohesive mechanism for refugee-focused policies and global compacts to work together.
- The International Step-by-Step Association (ISSA) Network has developed resources and materials for those working with children, parents, and caregivers of Ukraine, responding to their needs arising due to the war [video here].
Building on members’ efforts, the ECPC plans to launch a Humanitarian Crisis Response Committee to further coordinate and mobilize responses across research, policy, and practice for refugee children and families.
For more information, please visit ECPCs resource hub Humanitarian Response: The Young Child in Crisis.
Aditi Shrikhande is a consultant with the Early Childhood Development team in UNICEF Headquarters, based in New York, and provides planning, operational, and advocacy support to the ECPC Secretariat and Chairperson.
About the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC)
The ECPC is a global movement of United Nations agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, academia, practitioners, and the private sector focused on sharing scientific and practice-based evidence on how investment in early childhood development (ECD) can contribute to sustainable peace, social cohesion, and social justice. We recognize that investing in ECD is a powerful and cost-effective strategy for reducing violence, poverty, and exclusion and for building peaceful societies.
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