Skip to main content

Speak Out! – supporting migrant minors on World Refugee Day

Partner story

Photo: © Conseil Suisse des Activities de Jeunesse

Between 2015 and 2017, Switzerland received almost 85,000 asylum applications from unaccompanied minors aged between 8 and 17.[1]

Many of these children are fleeing war zones in their own countries, or extreme poverty. When they arrive in Switzerland, often they do not yet speak any of the languages. Usually they must wait many years before their applications are processed. These children are at risk of abuse and marginalisation due to the uncertainty of their status in the country. They suffer from loneliness and have experienced highly stressful situations on their journeys to Europe.

The Conseil Suisse des Activities de Jeunesse and its Speak Out! project supports unaccompanied migrant children and minors without documents to gain a voice in expressing their needs, as well as build up their skills and knowledge. The Conseil also advocates at national and cantonal levels to ensure that the interests of these vulnerable children are protected.

Oak has partnered with the Conseil Suisse since 2010 through our Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Programme (Prevent CSA). Its work falls under the Programme’s strategy to prevent violence against children and protect children, including children on the move.

Through active participation in workshops and exercises, Speak Out! reaches out to empower these young people.

“We want to give young people a voice,” says Mathilde Hofer, project manager for Speak Out! “We aim to give them a space where they can express what they have to tell society – and improve their situation while living in Switzerland. Some of them are in dormitories in asylum centres, some are living with Swiss families, it depends by canton and the possibilities offered to them.”

On 20 June, World Refugee Day, we remember these children and congratulate Speak Out! on its great work in offering support to them. To learn more about the Speak Out! project, check out this short clip:

For more about the work of Conseil Suisse des Activities de Jeunesse, click here.