Giving migrant and at-risk minors a future.
The Protection of migrant girls and boys and other vulnerable children in Mali project helped more than 900 girls and boys aged 6 to 18 access to protection services.
Karim* was just 16 when he was sent to prison after stealing a motorcycle in 2021. To his parents' shock, he was incarcerated at Timbuktu prison.
In this prison, where adults and minors are imprisoned together, Karim and the other children receive weekly visits from the technical support officer from Guichet Unique de Tombouctou run by the NGO “Terre des Hommes”, a UNICEF partner.
"During these visits, I've been able to open up about about my situation and above all, get some advice to help me reconsider my future in society", says Karim. It is this psychosocial and legal support that gives hope to vulnerable adolescents and enables them to envisage social reintegration.
Karim could have spent several years in prison. He was released after six months, thanks to the mediation UNICEF's partner and the Regional Department for the Protection of the Family, Women and Children with the judicial authorities. Among the conditions for his release : continued psychosocial support and socio-economic reintegration.
Psychosocial, legal and financial support for better care of migrant children and children at risk.
During and after his incarceration, Karim was guided in the choice and development of an economic project by the technical support officer and his assistant at the Guichet Unique. He has very big dreams, in particular that of owning a transport company. However, he decided to start with a small market business, for which he received financial support of around 300 euros. Four months after his release, Karim was selling vegetables at the market alongside his mother, who taught him the ropes of the trade. At the same time, he is taking driving lessons with his uncle.
"If Karim, the second of nine siblings is supported by his parents in this way, it's because they have also been sensitized on the need to facilitate and perpetuate his social reintegration," says Baba Maiga, in charge of technical support at the Timbuktu Guichet Unique.
Awareness-raising, psychosocial, legal and financial support are the main strategies of the project “Protection of migrant girls and boys and other vulnerable children in Mali” through:
- Guichet Unique for emergency care of migrant and other vulnerable children.
- Focal points for the identification and referral of vulnerable children, appointed from among community and religious leaders, the transporters' union, security forces etc., in strategic places where children pass through, and in host communities.
- Mixed mobile teams for the identification and emergency care of vulnerable or migrant children.
The "Protection of migrant girls, boys and other vulnerable children in Mali" project is funded by the French Committee for UNICEF. It is implemented through the NGO Terre des Hommes by UNICEF Mali in central (Mopti, Douentza) and northern (Gao, Timbuktu) Malian towns hardest hit by conflict.
Since the start of the project, more than 900 migrant and at-risk girls and boys aged 6 to 18 have had access to protection services and benefited from alternative care or sustainable solutions for social and family reintegration.
More than 36,000 people received information on preventing at-risk mobility, violence and exploitation, and on the various care, protection and social reintegration options available.
For every child, protection.
*Name has been changed for protection reasons.