Migrant crisis, European Foundations help migrant children

In recent months there has been a dramatic surge in the number of unaccompanied migrant children who arrive on Italian shores after a perilous journey across the Mediterranean, hoping for a better life. Many do not even manage to reach the shore and lose their life at sea. European Foundations have decided to act to help these children. The announcement was given at the end of the 3-day Annual General Assembly (AGA) & Conference of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) held in Milan from May 20 through May 22, that brought together more than 700 delegates from Europe’s leading philanthropic organizations. Agreed with  the European Foundation Centre, the initiative was spearheaded by Fondazione Cariplo and Compagnia di San Paolo (Turin, Italy), whose teams engaged a group of other EFC member foundations to help overcome this crisis. A foundations task force will organize help to migrant children through newcomer and integration programs. The task force will become operational in September 2015, while programs will start within year end. The European Programme for integration and Migration (EPIM), a joint initiative of several European foundations that have been working on migrant issues for a decade, will provide its platform to monitor children throughout their social integration program. Financial resources to be allocated to this effort will be defined shortly, upon completion of all steps necessary for formal approval by the foundations.

"European philanthropist thought it important to act together” – said Sergio Urbani, Secretary General, Fondazione Cariplo“This is a good message for those who operate in Italy and we are very pleased. While we recognize the importance of emergency responses to a crisis of growing proportions, especially in Southern Italy, we believe that a long-term strategy for the protection and inclusion of unaccompanied migrant children is equally fundamental for Europe’s future."

Unaccompanied migrant children who arrived on Italian shores were 7,831 in 2014 (up 54% on 2013). Of the 7,883 migrants who crossed the Mediterranean in the first 2 months of 2015, 1 in 10 individuals was under the age of 18. Of these migrant children, 521 made the journey alone. They are mostly male and coming from Gambia (135), Somalia (129), Eritrea (117) and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also from Syria and Palestine. At year end 2013, of the 25,455 unaccompanied migrant children, 12,685 were seeking asylum in one of the 28 EU member states and 12,770 were non-asylum seekers.