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Meeting the challenge of large residential centres

Video featuring an emergency shelter run by Innovation Humanitarian Solutions.

It is recognised that, in many circumstances, unaccompanied and separated children are being accommodated in large unsuitable residential settings. During the development of this course, practitioners told us of the challenges they faced when trying to change these practices. This is particularly difficult in situations where there are large numbers of unaccompanied and separated children arriving on a daily basis, and/or where there is a lack of money, trained staff, and other necessary resources.

In this video we see an example of a shelter run by Innovative Humanitarian Solutions (IHS) in the district of Shire in Northern Ethiopia. Although the Refugee Children Residential Learning and Recreational Center would be classified as large, we have made this video because practitioners asked us for examples where work is being undertaken to address factors that usually classify settings as unsuitable.

This centre accommodates children who have arrived as unaccompanied and separated children from Eritrea while they are registered in the nearby UNHCR registration centre. Once registration is completed, alternative care with foster families, or reunification with family members is sought. While every effort is made to ensure children stay there no longer than 48 hours, children sometimes stay for two to three weeks while alternative care is arranged for them. IHS is also looking for ways that children could stay in family-based settings while they wait to be registered.

This is a centre that only houses children and therefore ensures they are accommodated separately from adults. IHS employs Child Protection Animators who conduct a range of child friendly activities. Attention is paid to the well-being and psychosocial care of children. As one of the Animators in the video highlights, these activities are important because the children arrive alone, lonely, frightened, missing their family, and vulnerable.

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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

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