Children and their families who have fled their homes amid the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis walk near the town of border town of Gevgelija, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Photo: Unicef/2015/Georgiev

Jasamin's journey
across Europe

Children in search of safety

Home > Little Jasamin makes the dangerous journey across Europe

A small girl’s dangerous journey

I first caught sight of three-year-old Jasamin moments after she crossed the border from Greece into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with her parents and 19-month-old brother, Mohamed.

Like the hundreds of children crossing the same path every day, she was exhausted and confused about where she was and where she was going from here. She’s just one of the tens of thousands of refugee and migrant children making the dangerous journey across Europe, in her case from Afghanistan.

Help when families need it most

While Jasamin and her father waited for information on the next bus or train toward Serbia, her mother Zaharon brought baby Mohamed to the Unicef-supported child-friendly space for a quick wash and nappy change. She was grateful for the fresh baby clothes and hygiene pack provided.

After learning that they would need to wait two hours for the next bus, Zaharon decided to bring Jasamin to the child-friendly space. She was hoping the team would help her cheer up but, unaccustomed to the new environment, Jasamin didn’t take well to the new faces. She kept peeking at the door, keeping an eye on her mum who was trying not to lose sight of her husband and Mohamed – worried that the family could become separated.

Jasamin, 3, drawing at a Unicef-supported child friendly space. Photo: Unicef/2015/Pappas-Capovska

Jasamin, 3, drawing at a Unicef-supported child-friendly space. Unicef/2015/Pappas-Capovska

Time and space to be a child

Both mother and daughter finally eased up – Jasamin started to colour and draw, while Zaharon, confident that her daughter was in a safe place, went to take over feeding Mohamed. Soon Jasamin took to the space and did not want to leave. Her father had to come to the tent several times before he could finally convince her that it was time to go. Eventually, she left with a smile and the ball, to wait with her family for the bus.

In the short time I spent with Jasamin, she reminded me that the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe is a crisis for children. She also reminded me that when it comes to children on the move, even they themselves need to be reminded that they are children first.

Suzie Pappas-Capovska is Unicef Representative in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Help keep a refugee child safe

Donate now