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"We need to listen to children, not question them": Research on children on the move presented


March 21, Belgrade, Serbia: Save the Children Regional office North-Western Balkans and the Serbian NGOs Athina and Grupa 484 presented the results of their research on children on the move in Serbia that they have conducted in the framework of a project funded by the EU and the Open Society Serbia.
The purpose of the research was to find responses to the challenges these children face in accessing support and services. The research was the first step in discovering the roots of migration, mapping existing protection measures and asking for the views of children. Based on the research a training program will be developed for professionals on how to provide better protection for children on the move.
Masa Avramovic presented the findings of the interviews with children. A cross-section of children on the move were consulted, including internally displaced children, asylum seekers (3rd country nationals), victims of trafficking and children in street situation. Alltogether 26 girls and 16 boys spoke about their experiences at different stages of the migration process.
As Ms. Avramovic quoted a boy “We are often questioned about our experiences but never asked” – pointing to the fact that adults often seek information from children but are rarely listening to them. The NGOs that conducted the research helped the youngsters to reflect on their experiences during the process. They discovered that these children have lot of resilience and often they can achieve their goals for a better life. Also, hope was the common feeling for all children for a better life, one way or another.
The publication also contains desk research on international and national legal frameworks, publications and it analyses existing social welfare measures. it concludes that systems need to be more flexible and more comprehensive and for this multi-stakeholder training will be needed for professionals. (JA)