Refugees in Friedland, Germany | Credit: REUTERS
Refugees in Friedland, Germany | Credit: REUTERS

Hardly any group with experiences of displacement is more vulnerable than females. Now, children’s rights organization Save the Children has called for more measures to strengthen the resilience of refugee women and girls in Germany. According to the NGO's new study, this would benefit the whole society.

In Germany, refugee women and girls don’t receive adequate care and support in many areas. That’s the finding of a study the charity Save the Children presented on Thursday.

According to the study, support for female refugees doesn't go far enough to ensure the right to education, protection against violence and exploitation, participation as well as health justice.

The authors of the study criticized that many refugee women and girls in Germany live isolated without much social participation. Instead, girls ought to be able to attend schools and other care facilities “as early as possible.”

The study also called for "adequate safe havens," places of retreat where women and children can be safe. 

"Mothers and children fleeing their homeland face unbelievable suffering,” author Meryam Schouler-Ocak of Berlin’s Charité hospital said. Compared to men, women have to live through serious situations, bear responsibility for accompanying children and were constrained by a traditional understanding of roles significantly more often.

“Forced prostitution, hunger as well as the death of close relatives must be processed to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder and facilitate integration,” Schouler-Ocak added.

Adolescents who fled their home countries were especially in need of an environment that fosters their creativity, self-esteem and, in turn, their “general well-being,” the author said.

Save the Children, which was founded 100 years ago in the UK, had commissioned Berlin’s Charité university hospital to interview 83 women and girls in first reception facilities in Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia about fleeing from their homeland and life in Germany.

‘Gender-specific group offerings’

Girls should be enabled to not only feel safe in “gender-specific, psychosocial group offerings,” but also to “build social relationships” and to “communicate playfully and appropriate to their age,” Schouler-Ocak said.

To that end, contact with peers, “targeted education offerings” and “needs-based learning opportunities” are necessary, according to the study.

Young women also needed opportunities to participate. Generally speaking, more personnel and a better orientation of offerings towards the needs of the situation of the women was necessary.

The share of women and girls of all refugees in Germany increased from roughly 31 percent in 2015 to over 43 percent in 2018, according to the study.

In 2015 and 2016, roughly 350,000 refugee children arrived in Germany. Half of them were female.

With material from KNA and epd


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