#NoLostGeneration Posted January 25, 2017

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The No Lost Generation initiative was launched in 2013, it focuses on the plight of children affected by the Syrian crisis. Concerned about the real possibility of a ‘loss’ of a generation, the campaign puts education and child protection at the very core of their work. What’s more, the initiative also aims at providing more opportunities for youth and adolescents to get involved in the participation processes which affect their lives. Terre des Hommes became a partner in November 2016 and has since been working on the No Lost Generation initiative.

Interview with Céline Lefebvre, Terre des Hommes Foundation Lausanne staff currently working in Jordan.

What led Terre des Hommes to become a partner of the No Lost Generation initiative?

Millions of children and youth affected by the Syrian and Iraqi crises are in dire need, out of school, living in extreme vulnerability, victims of violence and sometimes separated from their families. The aim of the No Lost Generation initiative is to draw attention to the situation of the children, who are at risk of being a lost generation due to the violence generated by the conflict and displacement. Because of both our presence in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, as well as in Italy and Greece and having the same concerns and objectives as No Lost Generation, Terre des Hommes deemed it important to propose its partnership – which was accepted in November 2016.

Could you tell us about the specific activities that you are engaging in with #NoLostGeneration?

TDH aims to promote #NoLostGeneration, to make it visible to a larger audience and to promote its content. TDH also aims to support the coordination process of No Lost Generation, by sharing best practices, experiences and expertise with other members. Particular attention is paid to child protection (including psycho-social support, case management, child labour and early marriage), migration and juvenile justice in emergency situations. It is important for TDH to support the joint awareness and advocacy efforts of this initiative by raising the voices of our beneficiaries: Syrian and Iraqi children and youth; through stories and testimonies. It is also significant to remind people and donors worldwide that children are the main victims of these conflicts and that they need to be considered first and foremost if we want to avoid harsh consequences on the well-being, safety and education of the generations to come.

In your opinion, what are the links between the No Lost Generation initiative and the Destination Unknown Campaign Euro-Mediterranean strategy?

Both Campaigns adopt a human rights-based approach in their objective to protect children with a long-term view. The No Lost Generations initiative is based in the Middle East and often works with children on the move, be they refugees, internally displaced or affected by migration (children left behind). The Destination Unknown Campaign works internationally, in 10 different regions, it aims to protect children on the move, advocate for them, raise awareness and strengthen child protection systems. Therefore, both campaigns look at how to ensure greater protection for  vulnerable children, to raise their voices to the world and to advocate for a safer and more protective environment. Based on this, it is essential to work together to create a connection and complementarity between them.

Could you describe the current situation of children on the move in your context?

As is well known, the complex Syria regional crisis has had unprecedented social and economic impacts on neighbouring countries. The Syria crisis has displaced almost 5 million Syrian refugees into Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Let’s not forget that there are an estimated 6 million internally displaced people within Syria itself. The demographic shock of displacement, combined with the decreased economic activity and spill over of the conflict have created a complex protracted crisis, with impacts reaching far beyond the sub-region. Syrian refugees and Iraqi internally displaced persons, as well as vulnerable members of the host communities, are living in extreme poverty and therefore are at risk of violations. Too many children are out of school, victims of violence, of labour exploitation and of early marriage. They do not have access to basic needs and the equal, safe and protective environment they deserve. The absence of educational and other opportunities contributes to a sense of hopelessness and isolation especially for adolescents. Other common issues children and their families face are psycho-social distress and lack of civil documentation, like birth certificates.

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