Children on the move: Providing tools to tell stories
Supported by the EU, UNICEF, with the Scalabrini Centre and the UNHCR, co-hosts a story-telling workshop to share best practice from those assisting migrant children in South Africa.
Cape Town: “The journeys of children on the move are complex, layered and very necessary to document” emphasizes UNICEF South Africa Child Protection Manager Hellen Nyangoya at the opening of a two-day workshop on Storytelling hosted by the Scalabrini Centre and UNICEF.
The European Union (EU) Global Promotion of Best Practices for Children in Migration is a multi-country project funded by the EU and co-founded and implemented by a partnership between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF. Also referred to as ‘Children on the Move’ this programme supports child migrants who are among society’s most vulnerable.
UNICEF South Africa has partnered with the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town to document what has been learned about supporting children on the move over the time of the EU Best Practice Project between 2020 and 2023.
Bringing together a cross section of participants who are working with children on the move nationally, the workshop encouraged participants to, in the words of Ms. Nyangoya “add detail to and bring alive the information you have given us in the interviews, deepen your relationships and share successes, challenges and frustrations.”
There was consensus that sessions like this provide a rare opportunity to “breathe and reflect” as described by Yasmin Rajah from Refugee Social Services in Durban who also noted that “the power of language is critical and cannot be underestimated”.
The stories of children who have been forced through various factors to leave their homes are nuanced and layered and require a necessary degree of understanding and empathy when describing and writing about it. The European Union (EU) Global Promotion of Best Practices for Children in Migration Among the issues raised was the importance of not constantly depicting children on the move, as cautioned by one of the participants, as “helpless victims with no agency of their own.”
Indeed, when telling these stories it is important to be cognizant of both the power of memories as well as the significant concepts of ‘belonging and safety’ and how these shape the experiences of children on the move.