COPENHAGEN/STOCKHOLM, March 31 – An app that helps stressed or worried children has been translated into Ukrainian, and a “warm welcome” website for refugee children has been launched in Denmark, as part of a series of initiatives of Save the Children to support refugee children across Europe.
The Safe Place app, designed by Save the Children Sweden, is aimed at children and young people who feel worried, scared or sad, and contains different exercises that can be calming or distracting. Developed with psychologists in Sweden, and also available in Swedish and English, the app was originally designed in cooperation with refugee children from other conflicts. In March, it was translated into Ukrainian, to help support the more than 2 million children who have fled Ukraine in the past five weeks.
In Denmark, where around 24,000 people have already applied for residency under the recent special law for refugees from Ukraine, 2,000 of whom have applied for asylum, Save the Children Denmark launched a public website this month called “Warm Welcome”. The website is designed for children, refugee families, teachers, day care workers, volunteers and foster families, and provides practical information on how to settle into a new life in Denmark.
Across Europe, Save the Children teams welcome refugee children and their families and provide them with immediate support upon arrival. Save the Children runs child-friendly spaces in reception areas and other migration centers across Spain, Italy, Sweden, Romania and Germany, providing psychosocial support to children and a safe place to play while their parents search for essential services.
Over the past week, while the pace of refugees leaving Ukraine has slowed slightly, thousands of people are still crossing the border every day. More than 4 million people have now fled the country.
Save the Children is encouraged by the response of neighboring countries opening their borders to those fleeing the horrific violence in Ukraine. The response must continue to be open, non-discriminatory, inclusive, transparent and responsive to the immediate needs of children and their families.
Martha Ahlmann, National Program Manager, Save the Children Denmark said:
“*We know that a warm welcome for children on the move, wherever they come from in the world, is crucial for the well-being of children. This is why it is so important that we, as civil society organizations, professionals and volunteers, work together to welcome and support children and their families. Millions of Ukrainian children arrive in Denmark and across Europe scared and wondering what their future holds. Imagine, just over a month ago they were living at home and looking forward to going to school and playing with their friends. We are proud to be able to support in any way possible. But as the war rages on, we fear it will force even more children and families to leave, with fewer resources, no options when they are safe, and no idea what comes next.*
Helena Thybell, General Secretary of Save the Children Sweden, said:
“Save the Children Sweden has a long and deep experience of acting quickly in times of crisis and supporting children on the move. We operate in most of Sweden with the support of employees and volunteers. At this time, we are stepping up and mobilizing to be able to respond to acute needs. At the same time, we are building structures for long-term capability. No matter the effort, the safety and security of the child comes first. The app, made up of simple practices to change focus and relax, is a way for stressed kids to feel safe.
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