A growing number of unaccompanied children migrate across borders, driven by factors such as poverty, conflict and the rise in global youth unemployment. Doing this happens at a high risk to the most vulnerable people in our society, as these young children often fall victim to rape, trafficking, exploitation and violence.
Melinda van Zyl, Project Manager from Save the Children explained at the launch of the project: "The project was designed to address unsafe migration, by strengthening the responses, both at the transitional country and the destination."
Through this action, Save the Children took the lead in building teams that aimed to better coordinate a response that enhanced engagements with government and more effectively support child protection strengthening interventions for children on the move. Activities includes commissioned studies, support to reception centres, co-hosting seminars and workshops, undertaking advocacy and providing children with information, policy inputs and operationalisation, etc.
Excellent relationships with national government authorities resulted in high level buy-in and fast tracked commitment with appreciation especially where action corresponded with government priorities. This relationships made it possible to have cross-border engagements amongst the three countries where the bottlenecks around child migration issues could be discussed, resulting in increases requests for voluntary repatriations by children in South African places of temporary safe care. Cross-border meetings were used to discuss pertinent issues such as unlawful deportation of children across the borders, documentation (or lack thereof) of migrant children. PN, a migrant girl from Zimbabwe residing in a shelter in Limpopo, explained in an interview conducted by the International Organization for Migration: "Unless you have a passport, you are a dumaduma (lost) and cannot attend school."
"We will work hard to ensure that there is no discrimination of these children when they land on our soil", Dr. Tebogo Mabe from the Department of Social Development said in 2013.