The global refugee crisis is affecting more people, and children, than ever before. Children are being forced to leave their homes, schools, families and friends in search of safety and security. On arrival at a safe place, these children and their families then face innumerable further challenges.
One of the biggest challenges faced by refugee families is finding affordable and reliable childcare. With many parents needing to work to support their children, and with limited financial resources, the cost of childcare can be restrictive. This can be especially difficult during the holidays when schools are not available.
Our partnership with Families4Peace
The school holidays should be a time of happiness for children when they can play, go on adventures, make new friends and make lifelong memories. In 2022, recognising the influx of children, new to our South London community and due to the war in Ukraine, Activ Camps partnered with the charity Families4Peace to offer free childcare at our holiday camps in London to Ukrainian refugees.
Activ Camps was able to provide over 300 days of free childcare across our amazing holiday camps in London during 2022, supporting more than 20 families. Allowing the children to join our multi-activity sports camps, provided them a safe and nurturing place in which to engage in non-stop fun activities for kids, forgetting their worries as they made new friends and happy memories. Here’s what one mother, Yevheniia, had to say about her children’s time at our holiday camps:
“It was great! That was an amazing experience for my 3 children with a lot of fun and new friends! We are very thankful for this opportunity and your huge support!”
Not only was this beneficial for the kids, it also offered the mothers an opportunity to socially integrate and connect with other members of their community, including local families and other Ukrainian families too. We hope this social interaction helped to reduce feelings of isolation and provide opportunities for cultural exchange and learning, as well as being a welcome relief from the pressures of organising childcare. Here’s what Yevheniia and Natia had to say;
“It was a big help especially for me as a working mom of 3 kids. And half term sounds to me like a nightmare because I had no idea how to manage my job and carry kids during the holidays, but with Activ camps, it was solved and I was calm knowing my kids were in good hands.” Yevheniia
“This past vacation we took advantage of a great opportunity for my kids to stay at camp for free. The children enjoyed their stay at the camp. They were delighted with the educators who worked with them and with the activities in which they were involved. Their mentors were attentive to children and took into account their wishes and mood. I am grateful to the organisers for this opportunity.” Natalia
Of course, we understand that the refugee crisis is a complex and ongoing issue, and there is no one solution that will solve all of the challenges faced by refugee families. However, by partnering with charities to provide free childcare, we hope we can help make a positive difference in the lives of those that come to join us at our holiday camps.
If you’re interested in learning more about Families4Peace and other charities working with young refugees and asylum seekers, we have included some more information and links below:
Families4Peace is a grassroots organisation that began with a desire to create a community project that addressed the inequity in London. Families4Peace was created by families wishing to welcome, support and advocate for the vulnerable members of our community who have been adversely affected by poverty, and natural and man-made disasters.
Their main project is a community centre in Camden, Northwest London where they welcome recently displaced individuals and families from Ukraine. Their centre serves as a meeting hub where families can receive information and advice to help them restart their lives and ultimately empower them to regain their independence. We admired Families4Peace’s commitment to helping those who are vulnerable in our local communities and wanted to offer as much support as we could.
Young Roots is a London-based charity working with young refugees and asylum seekers aged 11-25, most of whom are alone in the UK without their families. They support young people to improve their wellbeing and fulfil their potential, through intensive one-to-one Casework, youth and sporting activities, English language mentoring, youth leadership and access to specialist therapeutic and legal advice. Their vision is a world where all young refugees and asylum seekers realise their rights and fulfil their potential and their Mission is to work alongside young people and support them to improve their wellbeing and life chances.
Refugee Action gives expert advice and guidance to those struggling to navigate the failing and unfair asylum system. They help those with refugee status to settle into their new homes and communities – everything from helping children into schools, to support booking doctors appointments, and ensuring they get a hot meal when they arrive. They support people who suffer violent attacks or other hate crimes, to ensure they know their rights and get the help they need. They campaign for change, collaborating with those who have direct experience with the systems we are working to improve.
SLRA is a front-line community organisation providing specialist advice and support to refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants who are at risk or in crisis because of past trauma or restrictions related to their current immigration status. They have been working in South London since 1991 and we are a well regarded and trusted local service able to clearly evidence our impact. Their mission is to ensure migrants in South London are active participants in society with access to justice and opportunity.
CARAS works from the perspective that people of refugee background are marginalised in the UK and can and do face a complex range of barriers that prevent access to rights, entitlements, opportunities and good quality of life. These barriers must be addressed comprehensively through education, advocacy, and campaigns for social change. The services offered by CARAS are designed to empower beneficiaries by providing information, tools, resources, and opportunities. They work with beneficiaries respectfully, recognising that the system in place to support people of refugee background is confusing and overwhelming, with the odds stacked against attaining equal access. They believe empowerment happens when people have decision-making power of their own; access to information and resources to make proper decisions; a range of options from which they can make choices; the ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision-making; and the ability to increase their positive self‐image and overcome stigma.