Dream big, stay safe. IOM and partners mark the International Children’s Day in Odesa

1 June 2019

Today, on International Children’s Day, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the civil movement “Faith, Hope, Love” invited tourists and residents of Odesa, in particular vulnerable children and adolescents, to the Alley of Dreams.

In Odesa’s Istanbul park, the visitors attended the Living Library and talked to “books” – representatives of different professions; explored Fairytale Land and discussed with Ukrainian celebrities famous fairy tales through the lens of human rights violations; found new hobbies at the creative workshop stations.

Children met with the Deputy Minister of Social Policy Nataliia Fedorovych, TV host Yehor Hordieiev, diplomats, police officers, firefighters, sportspeople, doctors, seafarers and civil activists. Experts on safe migration, healthy lifestyle and child protection reminded participants about the rights they have and the need to respect the others, as well as explained how to make responsible decisions in different life situations.

The event was supported by Global Affairs Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, and conducted in partnership with the state authorities, global youth initiative U-Report, NGOs La Strada Ukraine and Daryna Zholdak Foundation. Socially responsible companies Bosch, Coca-Cola and Zlachno also contributed to the event with presents for kids. Books presented to the teenagers were provided by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Sweden, and publishing house Vydavnytstvo.

“Children’s rights are of priority concern within Canada’s foreign and development policy. Canada is working to improve children’s rights worldwide, including Ukraine. We are happy to support this event and help Ukrainian children better understand their rights, learn about safe and healthy lifestyle, respecting each other, and making right decisions in various life situations,” said Karim Morcos, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Canada in Ukraine.

According to the latest IOM survey, 66 per cent of vulnerable children and youth from 13 to 20 in Ukraine are ready to accept at least one offer that may lead them to falling prey to traffickers.

“Most often children and adolescents state that they would agree to work without official employment in settlement other than their home, run suspicious or illegal work that is well paid, work abroad without official employment, try drugs, visit stranger’s homeplace or get in a stranger’s car, and borrow a big sum of money,” said Anh Nguyen, Acting Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine. “While the young generation is hugely influenced by its social environment, IOM stands ready to further support Ukrainian governmental and non-governmental agencies in their efforts to prevent children and adolescents from risky behaviors,” he added.