The Netherlands

Working in support of refugee children as part of the TeamUp coalition.

Facts and figures

- One project
- 7,260 refugee children affected by conflict
- 2,115 total participants

What is happening in The Netherlands?

The Netherlands has welcomed tens of thousands of asylum seekers since the refugee crisis began in 2015. Some 21,000 refugees are currently living in Dutch asylum centres - more than 7,000 of them under the age of 18.

The majority of these refugees have arrived from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Iraq - and have undertaken long and difficult journeys in search of safety. They have been exposed to the effects of conflict-related violence and witnessed terrible things.

Children are the ones who are most exposed to stress during their journeys to safety. Not all of their needs are addressed during the asylum process - particularly their social and emotional needs. Which is why War Child has partnered with Save the Children and UNICEF Netherlands to meet these needs - through the TeamUp programme.


Trained volunteers organize sports and play activities for refugee children in the Netherlands

Photo: Julie Hrudova

“The best part is that we ourselves are asked what we like to play... That makes me happy."
Evi from Syria

What we do

TeamUp was launched in 2016 and provides child refugees aged between six and 18 with structured activities. The programme encompasses sports, games and movement activities implemented by trained volunteer facilitators.

Each activity has a specific goal related to themes such as dealing with anger and stress. The activities work together to provide children with emotional support and a vital sense of stability. This supports the children taking part to build the resilience they need to deal with sources of stress such as bullying, anger and fear.

The programme is designed to reduce the likelihood of children developing long-term psychosocial issues - and referral mechanisms are in place for children in need of specialist support.

TeamUp is currently active in 30 asylum reception centres across the Netherlands - reaching thousands of children. The programme is also expanding internationally - activities are underway in Uganda. We are also looking to expand activities to South Sudan, Colombia, Greece and the occupied Palestinian territories.

The methodology at the heart of the programme will also be used in schools in the Netherlands. A pilot project in seven schools showed that TeamUp is an effective tool to boost the social emotional development of new arrivals at schools. The pilot project is now set to expand to 17 schools.