What We Do
IN THE UK & EUROPE
We support for children and youth refugees
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Article 28 of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to education, which includes the right to a place in school, curricular support, protection, and assistance. It also implies an environment where children can enjoy safety and care. While these rights include refugee children, they often are excluded from the education system for a multitude of factors.
Although research studies suggest that integrating refugee children into the education system benefits both the child and the host country, refugee children are often positioned as a potential threat to the education system. Because of this, refugee children face considerable problems that impact their access to education.
Some of the factors causing interruption to education is war, displacement and associated factors such as trauma . Our goals is to ensure that the break in education is shortened.
We partner with relevant agencies in education to advocate for the rights of child and youth refugees in their right to education access as they await their case.
Legal Support & Advocacy
In partnership with other refugee legal agencies, Voice Of The African Child signposts children and youth refugees for legal support and advocacy.
We work with agencies that provide direct, specialist legal representation to migrant and refugee children in asylum and immigration matters, based on a pioneering child-centered legal service.
Voice Of The African Child provide immediate information required by refugees to acclimatize them to educational and legal support.
We partner with the local council and community to support children and youth with outdoor activities such play as part of their therapy.
Signposting to resources for children and young people
Direct casework is one of the cornerstones of our practice. Without this service we cannot hear the voice of the child directly nor understand the context within which it speaks. In order to be able to learn from children and young migrants we need to create a space in which they can see and experience change for themselves. Without the ability to make a tangible difference in their lives we are simply another set of adults who have expectations of them but who provide nothing concrete. To make a meaningful difference for children and young people we have to meet their needs, and the bottom line is that they need good, child-centred representation to enable them to access their rights in the UK.
As Voice Of The African Child, we understand that children in the immigration process need to have all their needs met in order to fully participate. As such we make referrals which ensure that our young clients receive social, emotional and financial support as a priority. This provides them with a safety net throughout the process, and offers them a more immediate sense of change than we can achieve through legal process. This allows the child to be able to cope with a lengthy and challenging process to the best of their ability and increases the prospects of a successful outcome.
Our casework uses a child rights model to inform the legal work that we do. We view our clients as children first and migrants second, and our legal submissions focus on this. Voice Of The African Child takes an evidence-based approach to preparing cases, and believes that this too contributes to the success of our cases. Where the laws exist to protect our clients we ensure that there is evidence provided to the decision-maker which shows that our client falls within the relevant criteria.
Children and youth refugees face many challenges and are among the most vulnerable groups in our society. As such these young people need mental health support in overcoming their past, moving on and rebuilding their lives.
In the short-term we provide support including:
- Counselling referrals to by signposting to counsellors who hopefully speak the same language where possible
- Outdoor play activities as play si therapeutic
- Activities with local children to build bridges and integrate with local language and culture
- Signposting to our partners who provide shelter
- Arranging translators were required for further support and counselling.
- Hygiene kits containing clean underwear, soap, sanitary protection and other essentials.