Child refugees have to take a leap of faith – we must support them
Take a moment to think back to when you were a child, what were your memories of leap days? I remember being fascinated by them.
This one extra day every four years – when I was little that felt like magic. Being told that it happened to help align our calendar with the solar year added to the mystic around it.
The gaps between those leap days seemed like an eternity as a child – in that time you change so much, growing, learning, exploring the world around us.
I was blessed with a childhood that was safe, where my needs were met and where the weeks, months and years between leap days were full of joy and excitement.
But many children don’t get to enjoy them in the same way, and their view towards the next leap day looks drastically different.
Taking a leap of faith
This leap day thousands of children will be taking a step into the unknown, forced from their homes by war, conflict and natural disaster, making dangerous journeys.
The number of children facing this is staggering – globally more than half of the world’s 60 million displaced people are children.
Many of the basic rights that they should enjoy are lost including their right to an education, health and protection. Children are forced to try and simply survive.
Over the last year much of the focus has been on those children who have made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.
But we should not forget the millions of others around the world in countries such as Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Chad and Yemen who have also been forced from their homes.
A new deal for refugee children
This leap day we should look forward to the next. How in the next four years can we reshape our world? What must we do to transform it for displaced children? What must we do to help these children look forward with excitement to their next leap day?
Here at Save the Children we believe the world must develop a new deal for refugee children. One which protects them, gives them the support they need – including an education – and ensures that all their basic rights are met.
No more inaction
In a little under three months the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul must be a starting point for this. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to inspire bold action and deliver firm commitments that can change the lives of children forced from their homes all around the world.
Children should be put at the heart of it. The priority should be ensuring they receive a good education – before, during and after crises – that they are protected from violence and that their rights are recognised and upheld.
It’s a bold step which the world must make. No more tinkering around the edges. No more inaction. No child can be left behind.
A new level of ambition must be set by the world to ensure that the lives of every child forced from their homes are transformed.
If the summit were to deliver on this, the next leap year in 2020 could be one where children no longer have to make a leap of faith.
Donate to our child refugee appeal to help children and their families travelling across Europe.