New website and translated app create softer landing for children fleeing the war in Ukraine
COPENHAGEN/STOCKHOLM, 31 March – An app which helps children experiencing stress or worry has been translated into Ukrainian, and a ‘warm welcome’ website for refugee children has been launched in Denmark, as part of series of initiatives by Save the Children to support refugee children across Europe.
The Safe Place app, designed by Save the Children Sweden, is targeted at children and young people who feel worried, scared or sad, and contains different exercises which can feel calming or distracting. Developed with psychologists in Sweden, and also available in Swedish and English, the app was originally made in cooperation with refugee children from other conflicts. In March, it was translated into Ukrainian, to help support the more than 2 million children who have fled Ukraine in the past five weeks.
In Denmark, where around 24,000 people have already applied for residency under the recent special law for refugees from Ukraine, with 2,000 applying for asylum, Save the Children Denmark this month launched a public website called “Warm Welcome”. The website is designed for children, refugee families, teachers, people working in daycare, volunteers, and hosting families, and provides practical information about how to settle into a new life in Denmark.
Across Europe, Save the Children teams are greeting refugee children and their families and providing them with immediate support upon arrival. Save the Children is running child-friendly spaces in reception areas and other migration hubs across Spain, Italy, Sweden, Romania and Germany, providing psychosocial support to children and a safe place to play while their parents seek essential services.
In the past week, while the pace of refugees leaving Ukraine has slowed slightly, there are still thousands crossing the border every day. More than 4 million people have now fled the country.
Save the Children is encouraged by the response of neighbouring countries opening their borders to those fleeing horrific violence in Ukraine. The response should continue to be open, non-discriminative, inclusive, transparent, and tailored to the immediate needs of children and their families.
Martha Ahlmann, National Programme Director, Save the Children Denmark said:
“We know that a warm welcome of children on the move, no matter where in the world they come from, is crucial for the children's well-being. That is why it is so important that we, as civil society organizations, professionals, and volunteers, work together to welcome and support children and their families. Children from Ukraine are arriving in Denmark and across Europe in their millions scared, and wondering what their future will hold. Imagine, just over a month ago they were living at home and looking forward to school and playing with their friends. We’re proud to be able to support in any way we can. But as the war rages on, we fear it will force out even more children and families, with fewer resources, no options when they reach safety and little idea what comes next.
Helena Thybell, Secretary General of Save the Children Sweden, said:
“Save the Children Sweden has long and deep experience to act fast in crisis, and to support children on the move. We operate in most part of Sweden with support from both employees and volunteers. Right now we are scaling up and mobilizing to be able to meet the acute needs. At the same time, we are building structures for long term capacity. Regardless the effort, the safety and security of the child come first. The app, consisting of simple practices to change focus and relax, is one way for children in stress to feel safe and secure.”
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