OFID Quarterly July 2017 - Today’s children: In safe hands?
OFID Quarterly examines the wellbeing, safety of children across the world
Vienna, Austria, August 2, 2017. “I like schnitzels, but some food, I don't like,” says 14 year-old Shokria, who is originally from Afghanistan. “I miss some special food from Afghanistan.” Shokria left her home when her father was killed and has been in Vienna for nearly two years. Her story is just one of many perspectives on child refugees examined by the July edition of the OFID Quarterly magazine, which is circulating as of today.
The magazine also features the views of Ercan Nik Nafs, Children and Youth Ombudsman, from Vienna’s Children and Youth Attorney's Office: “The most difficult thing is the emotional condition they are in,” says Nik Nafs of child refugees. “There is still a lot that needs to be done in this area. It’s not easy. We need more experts who know how to deal with such cases; who have the experience.”
Sonali Nag, Associate Professor for Education and the Developing Child at the University of Oxford, also contributes to the debate, alongside many others. Nag says the successful integration of child refugees depends on the communities that take them in. Communities may be well meaning, she believes, but all too often there is little or no cultural sensitivity.
To help children and provide brighter opportunities and a more secure future, the most fundamental starting point for the world is to develop a better awareness of the issues they face. The first 23 pages of the July edition of the OFID Quarterly magazine aim to contribute to this awareness and demonstrate how OFID is helping children across the globe.
One of the highlights of this special section is an exclusive interview with Virginia Gamba, who was recently appointed by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres as his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.
Armed conflict and other problems such as mass migration and poverty are still present in too many parts of the world today and often have a common denominator—children are among their first and main victims.
“The mandate I represent has broad support from countries, regional organizations, and others who are truly committed to making a difference for children growing up in times of war. Their support is manifested by political support, action and also through programs that directly help children affected by war,” Gamba told the OFID Quarterly.
OFID works hard to protect children and improve their prospects through a variety of means. The organization’s focus can be understood more fully by reading the magazine’s OFID in the field section, which highlights three OFID-funded projects: supporting workshops for children of varying abilities in Palestine; financing education and vocational training in Egypt; and improving education in Grenada. The latter project saw OFID co-finance the Schools Rehabilitation Project and the Schools Feeding Program to the tune of US$10.5 million following the Caribbean country’s back-to-back hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.
But there are many other examples, too, like the support the organization provided for the construction of a children’s home in Kiev in 2010 for Ukrainian orphans, in an attempt to create for them a sense of security and belonging—a basic right for any individual. In 2015, OFID’s Annual Award for Development recognized and financially assisted the Children’s Cancer Hospital, Egypt, for its work in alleviating suffering and its dedication to fighting cancer. Then there are the three schools of the Nahr el Bared Refugee Camp in Lebanon, and a program to improve education for 1,600 pupils attending schools at the Shu’fat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem; both co-financed by OFID. The list goes on and on.
To read the special section on child refugees and the plight of the world’s children in full, visit the link here.