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TeamUp is about refugee children;
TeamUp is about children who came out of the war;
TeamUp is about getting the war out of children.
TeamUp is an alliance of Unicef The Netherlands, Save The Children and War Child. The three organizations have experience with working with refugee children in war zones.
Four years ago, refugees came to Europe and also to the Netherlands. Inner Wheel Club Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen decided they wanted to help, so we started to do volunteer work with refugee women at a local asylum center; 2 afternoons a week. During that work we noticed the children. They were wandering around with no goal, not motivated to go school, they were still, like their parents in a surviving mood.
We did research if there was something that could be done for these children and we ended up at War Child. War Child told us they were working on a new project together with the other organizations. We were invited to their headquarters to talk about their plans which were still being developed. The remark of their project leader that he met children in the centers in the Netherlands who were more troubled than the children he met in warzones where he worked, really shocked us.
TeamUp works with volunteers: volunteers who have worked with children and exercise. After their recruitment, the volunteers get courses from TeamUp about working with refugee children.
The program started at 5 locations in the Netherlands, soon they saw how successful it was and started scaling up.
Inner Wheel Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen stayed connected from the beginning, TeamUp was voted as a fundraising project the first year and also for the National Inner Wheel Friendship Day. During our Friendship Day, many members of Inner Wheel The Netherlands learnt about TeamUp. Last year it was voted National Lustrum Project.
TeamUp helps children who are refugees in the Netherlands. The children are still struggling and frightened even though they aren’t living in war anymore.
The United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child states that governments have a duty of care towards children and must uphold their rights at all times. Yet social and emotional needs are often overlooked, creating problems which could have been prevented at an earlier stage.
By offering sports and game activities with a goal, at a regular base and fixed times in the week they give the children a foundation and something to look forward to. This way they provide children stability and structure: it allows children to live as children again.
The TeamUp method helps on building resilience of the children to deal with sources of stress such as bullying, anger and fear. It helps to reduce the likelihood of children developing long-term psychosocial issues.
Children who need dedicated social support are identified and referred to the proper authorities.
Today TeamUp is working in 32 asylum centers. They also get many requests form educational organisations and schools to use the TeamUp methodology. A new pilot started “TeamUp at school”. In 2019 there will be 17 schools using the methodology.
TeamUp is also getting requests from other countries: Uganda, Greece, Sweden, Lebanon, Colombia, etc.
Their goal is to help as many of these children as possible all over the world.
What has Inner Wheel the Netherlands done?
Of course, it was very important to keep all our members updated about TeamUp on a regular base. For this we used:
Our National Inner Wheel website,
We published in our 4 monthly magazine articles about different key players in the project,
We visited all national and districts meetings to give presentations,
On request we would visit clubs in our country during their meetings. We would about TeamUp but also to motivate the clubs to participate in the project and also to use our valuable Inner Wheel network to find volunteers.
Besides updating we did of course also do fundraising: We sold friendship cards, birdhouses and Inner Wheel Cava!!!
End of May, during our National Friendship Day, we will hand a cheque to TeamUp with big pride. The money will be used by TeamUp for materials they need during their sessions and towards recruitment to get the best professional volunteers for the jobs.
IIW Board Director 2017/18