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World Refugee Day – An ongoing challenge for children and families on the move

On the 20th of June, we celebrate the World Refugee Day designated by the United Nations, important and inclusive moment to honour refugees around the globe and recognize the challenges that refugees have to face throughout the migration route and in the hosting countries. On this day, we also celebrate diversity as enrichment for our cultures and not as threat, empathizing with people who flee from their countries to escape conflict or persecution searching for a better future.

The last year has been a tough one due to the pandemic Covid-19, and for people leaving their own countries for unknown destinations has been even tougher because it has exposed refugees and asylum seekers to greater risks. Children and families have been particularly affected by the “domino effect” caused by Covid-19 such as the increase of board restrictions, the conditions within reception centers, as well as obstacles and delays in accessing international protection system and health and quality services. Only between January and March 2021, 21550 refugees and migrants came to Europe and over 17% of them were children.

 As a humanitarian organization working towards the protection and promotion of the rights of all children, among others, Hope For Children operates in Cyprus private shelters for unaccompanied children called “Homes for Hope”. The shelters operate with the financial support of the Social Welfare Services and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the Ministry of Interior in Cyprus.

“Homes For Hope” offer rehabilitation, integration and durable solution services in close collaboration with the legal guardian of the unaccompanied children, the Social Welfare Services. Through the operation of the shelters the Organization aims at ensuring that children integration and rehabilitation services and durable solution are implemented in line with the UNCRC and the Guidelines provided by UNHCR. 

Based on the statistics, since 2013 over 1000 unaccompanied children arrived at the Republic of Cyprus and around 480 of them have been accommodated at the HFC shelters "Homes For Hope". Children’s journey aims at a better life, a safer environment and usually the reunification with family members located in other European countries with most popular being the UK, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Along with other Institutions and Public Authorities in Cyprus, Hope For Children works to ensure refugee children protection, accommodation and long-term placement, family reunification, relocation and local integration and inclusion.

Today as any other day of the year, Hope For Children supports and advocates for their rights as children and is committed to do always more to ensure them the life they deserve. For more information about Homes for Hope or other support services for children please contact us at 22103234 or visit www.uncrcpc.org.cy  

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