An act of humanity

For every child, a fair chance. For every child, an act of humanity.

Children are entitled to respect, care, and support. A single act of humanity, big or small — a welcoming smile or a helping hand; a drink of water or emotional support after a dangerous crossing; or simply assisting a child getting off a train — can go a long way towards helping a refugee or migrant child who has arrived in an unfamiliar place hungry, cold, afraid or alone.


©UNICEF/UNI197517/Ashley Gilbertson VII

“They are my brothers and sisters in humanity and I am a refugee as well. So I am just one of them,” volunteer Kinan Kadouni, a Syrian refugee living in Belgium said, smiling with the Syrian boy he is carrying to shore on the Greek island of Lesbos in the North Aegean region.

©UNICEF/UNI197527/Ashley Gilbertson VII

Volunteers give water to a man lying in distress on the ground in front of a worried refugee girl, near the town of Skala Eressos on Lesbos, after a rough sea crossing. Many refugees were seasick, with some conditions life-threatening, due to dehydration and the cold.

©UNICEF/UNI197246/Ashley Gilbertson VII

Volunteers on the ground also provide incoming refugees and migrants with emotional support in addition to attending to their physical needs. (Foreground) a dazed refugee girl is comforted by a volunteer near the town of Mithymna, on Lesbos.

©UNICEF/UNI197251/Ashley Gilbertson VII

An Afghan volunteer from the NGO ActionAid carries refugee Zarah Nabizadeh, 5, his newly arrived young compatriot, up a slope from the shore, towards waiting and outstretched arms, near Mithymna.

©UNICEF/UNI200005/Ashley Gilbertson VII

A host community’s openness to another culture has brought together local residents and refugees and migrants living at an emergency shelter at Berlin’s Olympia Stadium in Germany to celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest days in the Muslim calendar.

©UNICEF/UNI197991/Ashley Gilbertson VII

In Serbia, Carolyn Ferguson (foreground) from the United States of America, who is in Belgrade to attend a friend’s wedding, has committed part of her time on her trip to helping out at a volunteer-run centre in Belgrade providing basic necessities for refugees and migrants.

©UNICEF/UNI197819/Ashley Gilbertson VII

Acts of humanity also help with rites of passage as children mature. With no family member or caregiver to teach him how to shave, Munir Yousufi, 16, an Afghan minor travelling alone, learns from a new friend in the temporary tent settlement where they are staying in downtown Belgrade.

©UNICEF/UN05568/Tomislav Georgiev

Providing essential services is one key to ensure children’s well-being during their difficult journeys. A boy helps his sister over a ditch dug to provide electricity at the Vinojug refugee and migrant transit centre, near Gevgelija in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

©UNICEF/UN05558/Tomislav Georgiev

This young girl at the UNICEF child-friendly space at the Vinojug refugee and migrant transit centre is receiving warm clothing, through funding from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), to ward off the winter cold.

©UNICEF/UN07703/Vanda Kljajo

Children should not forfeit their right to a childhood when they cross borders. Every child deserves an act of humanity and kindness. Red Cross volunteers help a refugee child off a train from Serbia, at the Winter Reception Transit Centre registration point in Slavonski Brod, Croatia.


For every child, a fair chance. For every child, an #ActOfHumanity.

Learn more about the refugee and migrant crisis.