We interrupt your blog-reading time for a small press release about emerging European illustrations, the EU and the United Nations World Food Programme.
Shoes provide a step into normality for Syrian refugee children
European children’s book illustrators come together to show how Syrian refugee children find new hope and stability through everyday objects.
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have teamed up with children’s book illustrators from across the EU to depict the importance of everyday objects in providing hope, security and comfort to refugee children who have been uprooted from their homes and normality.
As experts on understanding and visualizing the world from a child’s point of view, these emerging European illustrators have come together to portray how seemingly mundane items mean so much more to a refugee child than we could know. From a teddy bear or a story book to a toothbrush or a pair of shoes, these objects provide something they can call their own - an escapism from reality. These items comfort the children with a familiar taste of home and give them hope and the excitement that every child deserves.
Sourced from twelve emerging illustrators from across the EU including Denmark, Greece and Northern Ireland, the illustrators show how everyday objects significantly impact the life of a child and help them to feel settled and confident again in their new surroundings.
Estonian-Born illustrator Aleksei Bitskoff shows us how children attach their hearts to objects they know and love, these objects are necessities that a child should never be without. The joy and excitement in these children’s eyes show the mesmerising effect simple objects can have on their imagination thanks to assistance from the EU.
Greek illustrator Aristotelis Falegos demonstrates the importance of shoes for refugee children, which is so often taken for granted in the western world. The image depicts how a pair of shoes can put a smile on this boy’s face and providing him with hope for the future.
Kristof Devos, author and illustrator of “Dit is Miep” from Belgium, depicts the importance of routine. He places an emphasis on the importance of a toothbrush, which provides refugee children with a taste of normality. Kristof takes us into the imagination of a refugee child and how a toothbrush provides the young girl with a magical experience.
Restoring that sense of normality
A contribution of 348 million euros from the EU and the support of Turkish partners have made the ESSN (Emergency Social Safety Net) Programme possible, which helps the most vulnerable refugee families to find their feet again from receiving a debit card with a monthly allowance of EUR 28 (120 Turkish Liras) per family member.
This amount allows a parent to provide for his or her children according to their needs – which every parent, regardless of their circumstance, should have the ability to do for their children. From necessities such as pair of shoes or a toothbrush, to items that have the power to truly change a child’s life, such as a story book that brings with it the familiarity of home, these are items that are often taken for granted by parents in the western world.
Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. The ESSN programme allows parents to give their children the opportunity to explore their imagination and creativity through the ability to have fun.
After experiencing such displacement and uproot from normality, having the freedom and ability to spend money according to their own needs helps refugee families to settle in their new surroundings. The EU and WFP aim to help refugee parents to create a quality of life that feels safe and secure for their families, with the hope of creating a sense of normality and comfort in their new host country.
Martin Penner of the UN World Food Programme says, “all parents, regardless of geography, want to provide their children with stability - with consistency and routine. Food and shelter are important but there are so many things that kids need that we tend to forget.”
To find out more about the important work that the EU and WFP is doing to support refugees visit http://ec.europa.eu/echo/where/europe-and-central-asia/turkey_en and www.wfp.org/countries/turkey.