Unaccompanied, but not alone

Michael Diedring

In addition to a moral duty to provide protection to refugees, it is in Europe’s self-interest to recognize the opportunity inherent in every individual, particularly those migrant children and youth who are in Europe unaccompanied by a parent or carer. Europe’s social investment in these young people, if properly structured and supported, will yield a social and human return far in excess of its cost. Moreover, the long-term cost of not making that investment is unacceptable.

With this in mind, foundations have come together through EPIM (the European Programme for Integration and Migration) to support the protection and inclusion of unaccompanied or separated children and youth in Europe, with the ultimate goal of fostering independent young adults valued as productive members of their new communities.

Many foundations may not have engaged in this area because they feel intimidated by the complexity of the challenge, or that they don’t have a mandate or the necessary expertise, they feel their individual contribution is too small, or are uncomfortable with the highly politicized nature of the work. Collaboration helps offset all of these issues.

In EPIM, foundations pool their resources, receive expert guidance, benefit from years of experience in migration, and work and learn collaboratively. Moreover, the immense social challenge of protecting and developing unaccompanied migrant children and youth requires work in all areas; whatever your area of expertise, at some point it will touch upon the rights and needs of young migrants.

Next Special feature to read

‘With’, not ‘to’: the meaning of solidarity in an age of austerity

Madeleine Clarke