Kasim was worried. It had been a month since his father, Abdul, had become separated from the rest of the family in the chaos of the Greek-Macedonian border, and no one had heard from him ever since. His mother had diabetes and his brother suffered from a mental disorder that had worsened during their journey.
Kasim felt the burden of responsibility on his weary shoulders in the absence of his father. Kasim’s father was always able to reassure everyone that they would find a better life in Europe. Without him, Kasim started to fear for his and his family’s future. He tried to look for Abdul several times, but he often got discouraged. Kasim didn’t know who to talk to, and was afraid to put his father’s journey at risk.
When the Smile of the Child, the Greek member of Missing Children Europe, one day started asking around the camp for the family of Abdul, Kasim couldn’t believe his ears. With the help of a translator he explained his situation. He learnt that his father had desperately been searching for his family from Serbia. Kasim finally had some hope.
The program aims to ensure that cases of disappearances are systematically and efficiently resolved.
A few days later, the Smile of the Child had located the family and immediately connected them with the authorities responsible for family reunification and the associated legal procedures. Three weeks later, Abdul and his family were reunited.
Children like Kasim, especially if unaccompanied, are at a greater risk of starvation, homelessness, exploitation, abuse, and being forced into criminal networks in Europe. With limited safe and legal ways to move across countries, children are left vulnerable to leaving protection and being exploited.
Through the Amina program, H&M Foundations supports Missing Children Europe and its partners, including the Smile of the Child in Greece, to ensure that cases such as Kasim’s are systematically and efficiently resolved. The project fundamentally improves the day-to-day efforts of professionals working on cross border cases of unaccompanied children at risk in Europe.