Welcoming refugee Ukrainian children to a school community

The Including Children Affected by Migration Programme (ICAM) has been adapted and is being rolled out to support welcoming and including refugee children in school communities across Europe.

A whole-school approach to improve children’s social and emotional wellbeing

The business of schools is learning. But if children are uncomfortable, frightened, or unhappy, their brains will not allow them to learn effectively. Eurochild member the Including Children Affected by Migration (ICAM) programme works with a whole-school approach to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of displaced children in school and in the home. The programme helps children recover from traumatic experiences and start restoring learning relationships, allowing them to thrive again.

Between 2019-2022, Eurochild partnered with the ICAM team to roll out the programme in four EU countries – Italy, Spain, Romania and the United Kingdom. Learn more by visiting our activity page, which includes including video material about the programme.

Adapted programme to support the integration of refugees from Ukraine in schools

 In 2022 after the invasion of Ukraine, the ICAM programme was adapted for delivery in 2 half-day workshops to school leaders, to provide the most urgent guidance, lesson materials and parent/carer support needed by schools welcoming refugee Ukrainian children in 5 essential areas of school provision:

  • Staff awareness of the past and present experiences of refugee children and their possible effects, including understanding the effects of separation and loss on children who have been displaced and refugee Ukrainian children in particular.
  • Applying effective strategies for the induction of displaced children into the school community
  • Providing additional support for social and emotional learning and general wellbeing for all school-aged children through mentoring
  • Implementing effective strategies to ensure the safety and the wellbeing of children in and around school and online through reducing violence and countering disinformation.
  • Forming a supportive partnership with parents and carers through workshops

The ICAM partners are available to advise and support national or international agencies. All materials can be made freely available online in the form of guidance and detailed tutoring sessions. If required, face-to-face or online coaching with ongoing support can be provided.

Nationwide implementation of ICAMucs for Ukraine in Romania

In partnership with Terre des Hommes, and with the support of the Romanian Ministry of Education, the ICAM network has organised cascade coaching for a total of 50 National ICAM Facilitators and School ICAM Leaders as the first stage of a Romanian-wide development of the ICAMucs programme for the inclusion in schools of an estimated 30,600 displaced Ukrainian children in Romania, starting with schools in Bucharest in December 2023. This work is being funded by UNHCR and the NGO Swiss Solidarity.

Developing ICAMucs in Poland

The recent UNHCR report on the education of Ukrainian refugee children identifies varying levels of enrollment in school country-by-country, averaging at only 50% and worryingly, seeming to be decreasing rather than improving. With nearly half a Million Ukrainian children in Poland the ICAM partners with Terre des Hommes is supporting initiatives by UNHCR to improve both enrollment and inclusion in schools. Although progress is slow, ICAM hopes to begin support in early 2024.

Presentations in international conferences

The ICAM programmes (particularly the Be Cyber Safe and Responsible programme for protecting Children Affected by Migration from on-line abuse and exploitation) will be publicised at the OSCE International Conference on Preventing trafficking in human beings and increasing identification of and assistance to victims amid refugee flows from Ukraine: the role of civil society and anti-trafficking hotlines, taking place in Vienna in December 2023.

The ICAM programme will be further publicised at The Eurochild sponsored Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations for the Child (FONPC) Conference: The Role of Civil Society Organisations in Facilitating the Integration of Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants in Social and Protection Systems in European Contexts​ - Good Practices and Lessons Learnt – in Bucharest in January 2024.

For more information

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