A CWS activities class with some of the unaccompanied youth sheltering in Bosnia-Herzegovina. PHOTO: CWS
By Christie R. House
June 17, 2021 | ATLANTA
UMCOR has supported the CWS program in BiH for several years with grants that help them undertake specific interventions for children and youth. Currently, CWS is utilizing a $50,000 grant to reach older boys along with other migrants, mainly men, who find themselves outside the reception centers. Warmer weather increases the chances for survival outside, but it also increases the number of new arrivals. Food packets, hygiene supplies, clothing and masks are essential deliveries for CWS mobile teams checking on people, particularly youth, living in makeshift settlements.
Through a previous UMCOR grant in 2019, CWS worked in both Bira and Lipa to provide dedicated space for unaccompanied children, youth and young adults, providing a range of age-appropriate services. CWS staff members serve as official guardians for individual children, helping them access available health and social services. In 2020, when the reception centers were under lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, CWS activities with children and youth expanded to provide music lessons, language courses, art classes, sports and recreational activities inside the centers to help the youth and young adults through quarantine, which greatly relieved social pressure and improved mental health for all.