Re:think Bridges: facilitating integration of refugee children and caregivers in Europe
More than 200 experts attended FONPC and Eurochild’s international conference on the European civil society’s humanitarian response to the integration of refugees and asylum-seeking children from Ukraine.
The Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations for Children (FONPC), together with CARE France, SERA Romania, Eurochild, and ICVA, hosted a two-day international conference, RE:Think Bridges in Bucharest, Jan 10-11 2024, bringing together over 200 participants from more than 25 European countries to share good practices, policy and political perspectives, and funding landscapes, all in the field of inclusion of children and displaced, refugee and migrant people.
The conference aimed to connect and exchange best practices between European humanitarian aid specialists, representatives of Romanian and European authorities, donors and international non-governmental organisations, and civil society organisations.
The crucial role played by civil society these past two years in the integration of refugees, including the unprecedented number of children and families from Ukraine, in European contexts - at local, national, and regional levels - was always at the centre of discussions.
For Eurochild, our Secretariat team were part of the conference coordinating team, led working group discussions, and showcased our network’s work as part of the conference exhibition spaces. Eurochild members held a really important role in the conference proceedings, with a total of 7 active in the conference:
- FONPC – who coordinated the conference and provided capacity building to all projects funded under the Help to Help Ukraine project (see below);
- Gareth William James (individual member);
- Hope and Homes for Children Romania;
- Including Children Affected by Migration (ICAM) network;
- Roots Research Center, Greece;
- Terre des hommes (Tdh) Foundation - Regional Hubv, Hungary;
- The Smile of the Child, Greece.
In her opening remarks at the conference, Eurochild’s Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Dr Ally Dunhill re-iterated the power of supporting civil society to help address the needs of those most in need:
“We are all following the same direction. It is important to keep going. We need to work collectively and aim to do the best we can for the well-being of children and their carers.”
More information about FONPC’s work in the “Help to Help Ukraine” project
The RE:Think Bridges conference was organised on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, which forced millions of children and their carers to leave their homes in search of safety. They are just the latest arrivals, joining more than 3.3 million Syrians under temporary protection and hundreds of thousands arriving in Europe seeking asylum from African and Middle Eastern countries.
The conference was part of the “Help to Help Ukraine” project, in partnership with CARE France. FONPC worked together with their national member SERA Romania Foundation to coordinate a large humanitarian sub-granting & capacity building programme with local civil society organisations in Romania for the past 24 months of conflict, with a network of 35 organisations in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Together, they have reached more than 205,000 children and their carers with humanitarian aid - almost 124,000 refugees in Romania, 11,900 in the Republic of Moldova and almost 70,000 in Ukraine.
Looking for more information?
- Visit the Conference website to read the press releases - Part 1 and Part 2.
- “Access to Health Services for Ukrainian Refugees in Romania” (click here for RO version).
- Access and integration of Ukrainian refugee children in the Romanian education system (RO / UA version also available).
- The involvement of FONPC in supporting Ukrainian refugees (click here for RO version).
- How has the crisis in Ukraine influenced NGOs in Romania? (click here for RO version).
- Read Eurochild’s position on why collaboration with governments and civil society is crucial.
For more information, contact Ciaran O’Donnell, Eurochild Partnerships and Programmes Coordinator.