Geeta Narayan: We at UNICEF believe that children are children.
It doesn't matter if you are a refugee child or a migrant child, or any other type of child. First and foremost, children are children and they have the right to a childhood.
UNICEF is providing humanitarian assistance and protection to refugee and migrant children in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These children have travelled from very, very far away places, including many countries affected by crises, war and displacement. It is therefore critical that when these children arrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina that they receive assistance and protection. Together with our partners in government at all levels and also with our partners in civil society organizations, we are providing different forms of protection and assistance. For example, we have established child-friendly spaces in many of the reception centres, where these children and their families end up. In these child-friendly spaces, the children have an opportunity to play, to access psychosocial support and counselling and to remember what it's like to be a child. For a short time, it allows them to be a bit normal and to have a childhood again.
In addition, UNICEF has supported the establishment of mother-baby corners. These are places where mothers, pregnant women, young children can go in order to access basic primary health care services, nutrition counselling, just a place where they can, again, be a family, have a little bit of rest from what they have gone through. In the area of education, UNICEF has supported getting refugee migrant children into the Bosnian public school system. This has involved a lot of advocacy, talking to parents, talking to teachers, talking to school directors, and of course, working with our partners in the Ministries of Education on the value of education for these children. It provides a sense of routine, a sense of normal life, after everything that they have gone through. Lastly, in the area of health, UNICEF and partners have supported providing pediatric health care to these children and to their families. One area in particular that we have supported is immunization. We know that many of these children, because they've been on the move, have not been able to get full vaccination, and so if they are staying in Bosnia for a period of time, it is important that their health care needs, including vaccination, are addressed.
We believe that children are children. It doesn't matter if you are a refugee child or a migrant child, or any other type of child. First and foremost, children are children and they have the right to a childhood. They have the right to be safe, to be protected, and to receive the assistance of all kinds. And so, for us, it is absolutely critical that we all come together to meet the rights of these children. We do this working not alone, that's not possible. We do all of this in partnership with welfare authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as working very closely with our CSO partners, working with the families, the children, the communities themselves, to make sure that everyone understands how important it is to provide protection and assistance to these children and to their families. At the same time, we make sure that we're not only helping these children and their families, but we're also helping the community around them. If we are training teachers, for example, in Una-Sana Canton, the teachers are benefiting from the improved knowledge and skills for all of the children that they teach, not only the refugee and migrant children. In this way, using our humanitarian resources, we are also supporting the strengthening of the public systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina in terms of education, healthcare, and social welfare.
UNICEF humanitarian assistance and protection of refugee and migrant children in Bosnia and Herzegovina is supported by the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with Save the Children, World Vision, SOS Children's Villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Danish Refugee Council and Žene sa Une.