The statistics published in UNHCR’s Global Trends Report are far from optimistic. To quote just a few:

  • 1 in every 97 people on the planet is affected by forced displacement
  • Forced displacement has almost doubled since 2010 (41 million then versus 79,5 million now)
  • More than three-quarters of the world’s refugees are caught up in a situation of long-term displacement
  • Over 80% of the world’s refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries.

Moreover, the current COVID-19 pandemic has drastically intensified the need to find sustainable solutions for displacement. Nowadays, people on the move are facing multiple crises at the same time. In overcrowded livelihoods, they often lack adequate access to hygiene and sanitation facilities in order to protect themselves and their families from the virus. In addition to that, many countries closed borders and temporarily suspended asylum requests as a response to the pandemic, making it more difficult for refugees to find support. And last but definitely not least, the unparalleled economic shock caused by the pandemic results in refugee families losing their jobs and their already meager income.

“As always it is the people left furthest behind that are paying the highest price. For refugees and displacement affected people, it is a crisis that amplifies the crisis they already live through”, states Charlotte Slente in an article published on the website of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

Mobile School for refugees?

“Is Mobile School doing something for refugees?” is a question we hear very often, and the answer is short and simple: “Yes, we are!”

Mobile School collaborates with structural local partner organisations that can guarantee continuous interventions with the mobile school methodology. Some of our local partners in countries such as Greece, Kenya and Germany are actively working with children and families on the move.

Last year, Mobile School also explored a partnership with the Turkish organisation Her Yerde Sanat Derneği (HYSD - Art Everywhere Association) based in the city of Mardin, in the southeastern part of the country. Since 2012, HYSD has been organising circus and art workshops for children affected by conflict. The objective of HYSD is to replace the damaged childhood of these children with joy and to enrich their imagination using the magic of social circus. In a country like Turkey, where the Syrian refugee population alone is close to 3.6 million, many children on the move are in need of spaces for creative expression and non-formal learning.

Preparations for the new mobile school were ongoing, but then corona came… The mobile school materials have already been translated into Turkish and Arabic, but unfortunately it’s still unclear at the moment when HYSD’s mobile school project can be started up. Meanwhile, the team of HYSD is doing everything they can to keep bringing the magic to their target group through online lessons via Messenger and WhatsApp.

Today on World Refugee Day, people and organisations celebrate the strength, courage and resilience of people who have been forced to flee their home to escape conflict or persecution. While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution. As we are currently facing challenging times, it’s crystal clear that Mobile School will keep investing in long-term structural partnerships with organisations that aim to boost the self-esteem and develop the talents of children and young people on the move.