12 February 2024

UNICEF Refugee Response in the Czech Republic

The government and people of the Czech Republic have demonstrated a remarkable and enduring solidarity in welcoming over half a million refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. At the same time, the sudden arrival of a large refugee wave has put significant pressure on the national system. UNICEF has been working in close partnership with national institutions to support the delivery of the refugee response, including targeted humanitarian services, policy and systems strengthening, as well as enhancement of national and local capacities. Strengthening national systems by partnering with ministries and other national level authorities. UNICEF established workplans with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports; the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs; the Ministry of Health; and the Ministry of the Interior. Strengthening systems at local level to provide services for refugee children and families through partnerships with regions and municipalities. UNICEF established a partnership with the City of Prague, which hosts the largest share of refugees (25 per cent) to provide comprehensive support and services for refugee children and their families. UNICEF is supporting refugee response coordination at regional level to address the needs of the most vulnerable refugees in a comprehensive manner. Strengthening outreach and services for refugee children and their families by partnering with civil society organizations (CSOs). UNICEF is supporting the expansion of outreach and provision of basic services to the most vulnerable refugee children and their families, including unaccompanied and separated children, children with disabilities and children from the Roma community.
20 November 2023

"It is cool here, no doubt about it... but home is home."

On World Children’s Day, three international organisations working in the field of child protection in Poland - United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Plan International and Save the Children - release a research report on the subjective wellbeing of children and adolescents living in Poland in the face of the war in Ukraine. The report is based on children's voices and opinions through pictures taken by them and participatory dialogues. The consultations were framed around these three themes: the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of refugee children from Ukraine, their education, and their integration into Polish society. Key findings from the report include: Children from Ukraine expressed feelings of nostalgia for the people, pets and places they had left behind. Some children and adolescents become apathetic and resort to excessive sleeping and eating when they feel overwhelmed with feelings of stress. Over half of the participants from Ukraine said they would like to talk to “someone professional” about their mental health. Those who attend a Polish school reported that although they face many challenges such as language barriers and adaptation to a new educational system, going to school provides some routine. Studying at an online Ukrainian school was deemed to be very tiring because of the amount of screen time but especially because, according to participants, the classes were not well organised. Fewer than half of the participants from Ukraine expressed a desire to stay in Poland. Some children from Ukraine reported experiencing discrimination at school, from both teachers and classmates. When Polish and Ukrainian participants had sufficient opportunities for deep one-on-one exchanges with others, they recalled positive experiences, getting along together and building friendships.   In response to these challenges, the report recommends concrete and practical steps for national and local authorities in Poland, United Nations agencies, NGOs and civil society organisations. The recommendations are categorised into three key areas: Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing Increase awareness of and access to specialised, free of charge mental health care services for refugee children from Ukraine, e.g., through recruitment of Ukrainian-speaking mental health experts. Foster parenting programmes, elevating the capabilities of educators, intercultural assistants, and volunteers.   Education Deploy more Ukrainian intercultural assistants in Polish schools and enrich teacher training content with modules on social and cultural cohesion, conflict sensitivity, anti-discrimination practices, and wellbeing. Prioritise Polish language classes, remedial support and peer-to-peer mentoring programmes. Provide information about education options for children from Ukraine.   Cohesion and participation Fund extracurricular activities that enable children from Ukraine, especially those who attend an online school, to build meaningful relationships in Poland. Provide anonymous and child friendly feedback mechanisms in schools and child friendly spaces, to ensure that children have opportunities to safely report their concerns.
19 October 2023

“Your voice is key in fight against violence”. UNICEF and the Ministry of Justice launch a social campaign on preventing violence against children

The campaign in Ukrainian and Polish language is addressed at children and adolescents experiencing violence, as well as witnesses, parents and teachers. The aim is to sensitize society to this problem, encourage people to report violence and facilitate access to various forms of help. The Justice Fund is a partner of the project, supporting it…, To raise awareness and help , According to experts, despite the long-standing social debate in Poland on the prevention of violence against children, many people still do not know how to get help in the event of child abuse. This is also the case for 39% of surveyed mothers who moved from Ukraine to Poland after February 2022 and took part in the UNICEF study “Barriers and…, To defeat the monster , The campaign shows violence as a monster that stops children from talking about the problem, sometimes creating an insurmountable barrier. It also gives children experiencing violence and its witnesses a key to encourage them to speak out without feeling threatened, so that the monster disappears, and everyone who finds the strength to talk about…, Here you will find help , Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing violence can seek support by contacting the number 116 111 (helpline for children and young people), number 222 309 900 (helpline run by the Justice Fund) and the helpline of the Ombudsman for Children: 800 12 12 12. These helplines provide confidential, free counselling services and anonymous support in…
26 September 2023

Back to school, back to hope

Back-to-school is a huge day in every child’s calendar. Filled with anticipation, emotion and excitement for the new year. For refugee children, even more so – this day can mark the start of a returned sense of normalcy to uprooted lives. For Karina, 8, this is the second back-to-school day in her new home where she is starting second grade at a…, For the love of learning, It is important that children and young people who’ve had to flee the war are given the opportunity to continue their education and maintain their love of learning. “The children are incredibly hard working, motivated to learn and curious,” says Karolina Kotowska, the headteacher of Karina’s school. “It usually takes me two to three days to assess…, Education uninterrupted   , Many parents make the decision to leave Ukraine for their children. They worry about their future. Tetiana, who came to Warsaw from the Kyiv region with her two sons, wanted to ensure their education continued uninterrupted. “All schools in the region are closed and children can only get online education,” says Tetiana, a mother of Matviy, 7, who…, Tatiana with her son Matviy, UNICEF/Brykczynski UNI437814 UNI437814 UNICEF/Brykczynski UNI437819 UNI437819 UNICEF/Brykczynski UNI437812 UNI437814 UNI437819 “From all subjects, I like the common room the most,” laughs Andrzej, 8, from Dnipro. “Oh, and the swimming pool!” Mariia, his mother, laughs alongside him as she accompanies him to the back-to-school assembly on the…, Mariia with her son Andrzej, UNICEF/Brykczynski UNI437823 UNI437825 UNI437827 To support children’s education, UNICEF’s Refugee Response Office in Poland is working with the Ministry of Education and Science, 12 municipalities and civil society partners to increase access to quality learning for children in Poland. The support provided to the primary school mentioned in the…