New protective spaces provide safe refuge for migrant children and families in Colombia

Published August 16, 2022

Physical spaces offering safety and protection for migrant and refugee children in Colombia are planned for the cities of Bogotá, Barranquilla and Soledad, Atlántico, with one already created in Valledupar.

The Bernard van Leer Foundation, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), seek to create and strengthen these protective spaces so these children and their families can play, grow, develop and integrate into their host communities.

The project will also offer training sessions to local and national authorities, as well as institutions in charge of child protection in Colombia, including the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF), to strengthen their knowledge on issues related to children growing up within a human mobility context.

“On many occasions, migrant and refugee children are exposed to various factors that can affect their optimal development. Through this partnership with IOM, we seek to intervene early in these factors, strengthen physical spaces that can welcome and accompany children and their families so that they can have the best possible start in life”, said Andrea Torres Sansotta, Programme Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

The initiative includes a strategy to promote family integration into communities, and including new psychosocial care methodology.  This methodology covers three areas: caregiver care, the promotion of children’s rights, and the strengthening of positive parenting based on care for all.

This project aims to give children from 0 to 5 years of age a good start in life. Photo courtesy of OIM Colombia