More than 800 unaccompanied minors (UAM) are living in conditions that aren’t child friendly because the Dutch asylum system is at a breaking point. The massive shortfall in appropriate accommodation has propelled us to take responsibility for 12 UAM in Amsterdam. After three years of housing minors in Greece, this is the first time we’re caring for minors in the Netherlands.
MOTG has been operating in refugee camps in Greece since 2015, working to create safer, healing and more dignified environments for the residents inside – including ongoing youth rehabilitation programmes with the Barca Foundation and UNICEF.
In 2019, we have set up three homes for unaccompanied minors in Athens in collaboration with The Home Project. As a result, more than 130 children have had access to a safe environment, as well as; mental health and legal services, support for family unification, assistance with relocation to European Union member states or integration into the Greek host community.
As of June 1, we have become a contract partner with NIDOS – the national guardianship institution for unaccompanied and separated children in The Netherlands – taking responsibility for the 13 UAM in Amsterdam. NIDOS shelter director, Jan Murk, says the UAM situation in Holland is “dire” and they have been appealing for assistance.
In the meantime, we are searching for a permanent housing location to be permitted by the municipality of Amsterdam. Until that happens, The Student Hotel has delivered an emergency solution to temporarily house this group of children in its Amsterdam West location.
The minors are housed in a ‘cluster’ within the hotel, with each child having their own room and access to a private kitchen and living area, as well as spaces for education, activities and sports. The Student Hotel CEO and founder, Charlie MacGregor, believes the hotel’s long-term international guests and their ‘open mindsets’ are a big step toward creating a healing environment for unaccompanied minors. “We see this as a test, but we’d love to do more to play our role in integrating refugees into the Dutch society, especially unaccompanied kids”, MacGregor said.
Any contribution helps us in our mission to provide a dignified, innovative and sustainable response to the refugee crisis that benefits both refugees and host populations.
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