The refugee crisis is a child’s emergency. This is how we help refugee children.

Photo: © UNHCR/Kate Holt

Over 40% of the world’s refugees are children. Many will spend their entire childhoods away from home—sometimes separated from their families. They may have witnessed or experienced violent acts and, in exile, are at risk of abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation, trafficking or military recruitment. 

But child refugees are incredibly resilient. By learning, playing and exploring their skills, they can find ways to cope, drawing strength from their families and communities. 

UNHCR works with national authorities, and other international and local organizations to assist, protect and find solutions for displaced children. We ensure that those who are unaccompanied or separated are cared for and have access to family tracing and reunification services, that new-borns are registered at birth and children with disabilities are supported. Through psychosocial support activities and education, we help children living in war rebuild their lives. 

Unaccompanied Children 

In the conflict and upheaval that forces them to flee their homes, thousands of children lose their parents to violence or become separated from them and endure long journeys on their own. Refugee children are at great risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, including human trafficking and forced recruitment into armed groups. Girls are at a heightened risk of child marriage and sexual exploitation. 

Due to the mass displacement of unaccompanied and separated children, child protection efforts are becoming extremely strained and resources increasingly scarce. 

How You Can Help

Child protection services are severely underfunded. Due to financial constraints, the building capacity of UNHCR staff is severely compromised. Under-resourced refugee camps struggle to provide vulnerable children with the necessary support and assistance they need.  

UNHCR funding is provided almost entirely by donations from individuals, corporations and governments. These funds are used to provide basic nutrition, as well as, education, shelter and health care to refugee children.

All children deserve to be safe where they live, learn and play.

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Protect and support vulnerable refugee children.

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