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Supporting Child Refugees on World Refugee Day

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Education Emergency Girls' Rights

Right now, there are over 27 million refugees around the world. Half of them are under 18.

Becoming a refugee places children and young people at heightened risk of violence, exploitation, and neglect. And while Ireland, Europe, and the rest of the world has shown solidarity and generosity towards children fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, the majority of the worlds’ refugee children still need support. Sadly, in too many places, refugee children are being failed, unable to access essential services, and their rights denied.

Refugee Girls at Risk

Girls in particular face discrimination, including increased risks of sexual abuse, gender-based violence, child marriage, and early and unwanted pregnancy. And despite the disproportionate and gender-specific risks girls face, they are often overlooked in responses from governments and other organisations.

But despite the unimaginable hardships they face, refugee and asylum-seeking girls show extraordinary resilience. So it’s vital to provide the support they need to thrive.

Plan International Ireland works in countries across the world to ensure no girl is left behind. From Eastern Europe to Sudan, Colombia to Bangladesh, we support refugees by providing Safe Spaces for girls to learn and feel supported as well as providing food, water and shelter. And our youth empowerment programmes tackle the inequality and rights violations that often force people to leave their home country.

Beti from Mozambique and Katya from Ukraine are worlds apart, but are both refugees. Here are their stories.  

Beti’s Story
15-year-old Beti lives with her grandmother and seven siblings at resettlement centre in Chiure District. “Here in the centre I can only eat two times a day." Read more
Katya’s Story
11-year-old Katya fled from Zjytomyr in western Ukraine, with her mother and sister but had to leave her grandmother, father and uncle behind. Read more

Take Action

No matter where disaster strikes, the rights of refugee girls and young women need to be a priority at all stages of emergency responses.  

Action is needed to support host countries and communities to ensure that refugees – and in particular girls and their families – have better access to protection, health, education and livelihood opportunities and are included in host communities from the outset, no matter where they are in the world.