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19th January 2016 – With up to 3,000 refugees and migrants passing through Slovenia each day, Unicef and the Government of Slovenia today announced a partnership aimed at improving the care and protection of children on the move.
“While the vast majority of refugees and migrants are spending a short period of time in Slovenia before moving on, humanitarian needs remain considerable – especially for vulnerable groups, including children,” said Boštjan Šefic, Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior and the coordinator for the refugee response in Slovenia. “That’s why we are partnering with Unicef to strengthen support services for children and families as they continue their journeys through Slovenia and beyond.”
Despite Government efforts to provide shelter and essential services to people on the move, support systems are stretched because of the sheer scale of the crisis. Unicef aims at strengthening and scaling up child protection services in Slovenia, training front line workers, carrying out hygiene promotion and distributing supplies for winter.
“Children on the move are first and foremost children – they need a place and a time to play, rest and recuperate from their arduous journeys, they need age appropriate food and they need shelter and warmth from the cold winter. Unicef is working with the Slovenian government and other partners to give them the care they so need while on route to their destination,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, Unicef Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe.
Unicef and NGO partner in Slovenia, Slovenska filantropija, will focus on the following key interventions:
• Establish child and family friendly spaces, which will provide safe areas for children to rest, engage in learning activities, and receive psychosocial first aid, information and other social support as needed. These are spaces which are heated and where children are provided with warm clothes, shoes and blankets. The Child Friendly Spaces will be the first step towards a Children and Family Support Hub that allows Unicef, in partnership with UNHCR and the Red Cross Movement, to offer more integrated services and protection to families on the move.
• Facilitate child protection training and capacity building of social workers, front line staff and volunteers working at the transit centres.
• Establish a mother and baby corner which will provide a clean, safe space for mothers to change and breastfeed their babies. They will also receive hygiene packs for their babies and themselves.
• Support a hygiene promotion campaign, in languages of the migrant population, at all reception, transit and relocation points for people moving along the migration route, supported with adapted and standardised hygiene kits.
Unicef’s response will be adapted to the evolving situation, emerging needs and available funding.
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