Preparations are underway at all levels of Portuguese society to welcome and accommodate children arriving in Portugal from Ukraine. In particular, efforts are being made to facilitate their integration into schools across the country and, where children are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, to host them in the homes of Portuguese families.
Hosting unaccompanied minors
Under Portugal's special temporary family care programme, approximately 3 000 families have offered to host Ukrainian children who arrived in Portugal without a responsible adult. In order to prepare them for hosting unaccompanied children, these families are being given training by the Holy House of Mercy (Santa Casa da Misericórdia) and receive financial compensation.
Although a high number of families are ready to give their support, so far only 300 children have actually arrived in Portugal from Ukraine without a parent or guardian. Rosário Farmhouse, president of the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People, called for those families who have not yet received a child from Ukraine to instead host other children in need of temporary shelter in Portugal.
One of the Portuguese Government's priorities is to create schooling conditions to welcome refugee children fleeing the war in Ukraine, including by accepting and integrating these children into the national schooling system. Specific instructions have been given to schools by the Ministry of Education in order to achieve this.
In 2016, the High Commission for Migration in Portugal established a network of schools working to promote integration, wherein respect for difference is a key principle. These schools promote the development of positive relationships between students and members of the educational community who have different cultural backgrounds, in order to encourage acceptance and celebration of difference. Now, in 2022, the network comprises 47 schools across the country and acts as a solid foundation from which to facilitate the integration of refugee children from Ukraine.
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