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Refugee children in Greece organise their own Children's Day

2019-11-19

"You can come to our party, we don't care where you are from, from Syria or Afghanistan, we all came here chased by war, and we don't want any more violence." – was the motto of an event organised by children and Terre des hommes staff at the Nea Kavala Open Facility for Refugees in Greece.

They celebrated the Universal Children’s Day, which is marked on the 20th of November since 1989 – the day the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted.

In preparation for the party, the children decorated the camp’s "child-friendly space" with artworks they had made themselves. They dressed up with whatever they could find, they wore glitter and most importantly – a big smile. With the help of the cultural mediators, four languages ​​– English, Farsi, Kurmanji, Arabic, were spoken at the party.

Every child had the opportunity to take the floor and share their own wishes on this day dedicated to children’s rights. Their common wish: "To have the right to peace."

During the party, other children and young people passing by stopped to watch and wanted to join. The little "event organisers" encouraged them to come closer, to say something in their own language, to share a thought and a wish on this milestone day. Colleagues from the Danish Refugee Council and the Drops in the Ocean organisations were also guests at the party. 

The children's party ended with a sing-along song, accompanied by a guitar. "We want education, we want water, food, and warm clothes. Also, better protection from the cold, in winter here the tents are freezing and there is a lot of wind."

In addition to the open facility in Nea Kavala, Terre des hommes Hellas staff – social workers, psychologists, cultural mediators – offers comprehensive child protection services in eight more camps in Greece – in Central Macedonia, Thessaly and Attica. The services include case management, legal assistance, targeted psychosocial support, escort to public services and other activities. We also build the capacity of professionals from other organisations, and of national and local actors, on the protection and safeguarding of children from abuse and neglect.

The Terre des hommes Hellas child protection project is being implemented in collaboration with IOM Greece, the Danish Refugee Council and with the support of the European Union's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.