15 December 2023 - Geneva

Schooling and safety top list of refugee children’s concerns – Save the Children survey

refugee children egypt
  • Leaders are meeting in Geneva from 13-15 December for the Global Refugee Forum, the world’s largest international gathering on refugees.
  • Save the Children with the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts consulted 434 refugee children from 11 countries to highlight their views
  • The feedback – Our Call for Answers: Children’s manifesto to the Global Refugee Forum 2023– shows refugee children are particularly worried about education and safety.

GENEVA, 15 December 2023 – Refugee children globally fear discrimination and exclusion from schooling, violence in camps and the community, and want a say in their future, according to a survey by Save the Children and the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts.

The survey - captured in Our Call for Answers: Children’s manifesto to the Global Refugee Forum 2023and launched today at the 2023 Global Refugee Forum in Geneva – involved 434 refugee children from 11 countries in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The survey revealed common concerns across cultures, with children reporting abuse in or exclusion from education as their major stress point. Children also reported feeling unsafe in refugee camps, with fears of sexual and physical violence against girls particularly prevalent.

Many of the children consulted spoke of deep frustration at caregivers and institutions, and at barriers hindering their ability to influence decisions, such as language barriers, lack of access to local authorities, attitudinal barriers, gender disparities, and discrimination. They also spoke of opportunities being denied to them, such as the opportunity to contribute ideas to improve school curricula, enhance safety in camps and host communities, and organise activities to advocate for their own rights.

Inger Ashing, Save the Children International CEO, is at the Global Refugee Forum. She said:

“Refugee children are children. They have the same hopes and dreams as children anywhere, but even greater fears and vulnerabilities, because of what they’ve experienced having to flee their home countries.

“These children deserve the right to be heard and have their issues addressed. Their voices not only need to be part of the discussion, they need to be at the forefront of discussions and decisions shaping their future.

“Children told us they had hope that their participation in this Forumwould lead to an improvement in the lives of child refugees. They look to UN agencies, international organizations, and governments to address their concerns and provide support. For these children, the Global Refugee Forum symbolizes a promise—a promise to safeguard their future. We must respect this hope, not squash it further.”



  • The Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts has over 30 members  - including UN entities, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, philanthropic foundations, individual experts and special procedures - united to ensure that children’s rights are central in the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
  • In the weeks running up to the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), 434 refugee children from eleven countries across the world participated in a series of consultations organized by the Initiative for Children Rights in the Global Compacts and Save the Children. The children that participated in the consultations, 247 girls and187 boys (including 2 girls and 7 boys with a disability) were consulted between September  and October 2023.


For further enquiries please contact:

Andrea NunezFloresRey andrea.nunezfloresrey@savethechildren.org

Sam Halyk samantha.halyk@savethechildren.org

Our media out of hours (BST) contact is media@savethechildren.org.uk / +44(0)7831 650409

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