Teaming up with children in migration

It’s fun, it gets kids to move, and it strengthens their mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.

Photo credit: TeamUp in reception centre (Netherlands) @ Julie Hrudova

SOS Children’s Villages, War Child Holland and Save the Children have joined forces to support refugee children to cope adequately with difficulties, to deal with their emotions and to socialize with other kids, in order to prevent mental health problems.

Through the two-year EU-funded project ‘EPSUM - Enhancing Psychosocial Wellbeing of Unaccompanied Minors’, selected professionals and volunteers in Italy, Greece and Sweden will be trained and supported in order to integrate within existing services targeting children in migration, the psychosocial intervention ‘TeamUp’, developed by War Child Holland, Save the Children and UNICEF Netherlands.

TeamUp facilitators guide children through games, sports-related activities, dance, body awareness exercises and creative movement that contribute to their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.

  • Through play, TeamUp provides structure to children (a predictable and well-organised environment offering clear, consistent rules, norms and responsibilities ) in order to give them a sense of normalcy, safety and stability
  • TeamUp games are fun, offer outlets for energy, stress release and tensions in the body. Games evoke emotions and sensations in the body. Engaging in movement-based activities allow children to cope and process their emotions through the body
  • During TeamUp activities, children can meet children of the same age and build new friendships within a safe environment. They learn how to play together, trust each other and connect with one another.

Facilitators are trained to timely identify and refer children experiencing mental distress and in need of targeted specialised support.

Co-funded by the European Union

Responsibility for this content lies solely with SOS Children's Villages Italy. The European Commission is not responsible for any information contained here.

Project contact:

Sara Sommaruga
Information Officer
SOS Children’s Villages Italy (Project Coordinator)

EPSUM final publication





Why? Most children are resilient: they cope adequately and return to normal functioning when offered structure, relative emotional and physical safety and some sense of normalcy with the support of caring adults and environments.

Project partners. SOS Children’s Villages Italy (Project Coordinator), SOS Children’s Villages Greece, Save the Children Sweden, War Child Holland (EN / NL), SOS Children’s Villages International, Centro Penc Antropologia e Psicologia geoclinica, Refugees Welcome Italy.

In cooperation with Municipality of Athens, Solidarity Now, ARSIS, IRIDA and Albatros.

Institutional Partners. Ombudsman for Children and Adolescent of Palermo, Ministry of Education of Greece, RF-SISU Västra Götaland and The Swedish Sports Confederation Region West.

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