SOS helpline for children and youth Operational Report December 2018 – November 2019
“WHEN THE LIVES AND THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN ARE AT STAKE, THERE MUST BE NO SILENT WITNESSES.“
Carol Bellamy, former Executive Director of UNICEF
“THERE IS NO HOLIER TRUST IN THE ONE THE WORLD INVESTS IN THE CHILDREN. THERE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT OBLIGATION THAN THE ONE MAKING SURE THEIR RIGHTS ARE RESPECTED, THAT THEIR WELL-BEING IS PROTECTED, THAT THEIR LIVES ARE FREE OF FEAR AND MISERY AND THEY CAN GROW UP IN PEACE.“
Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations
The First Children's Embassy in the World MEGJASHI is the oldest civil society organization in the Republic of Macedonia for protection of the rights of the child, founded in April 29, 1992. Megjashi advocates for child rights, positive parenthood and continuously strengthens the civil society movements through all its activities. It broke the silence on child suffering and economic abuse of children, through opening the SOS helpline for children and youth in 1993 and opening these issues in public and directly engaging in establishing more effective child protection mechanisms.
The SOS Helpline for Children and Youth has been operating for 26 years (since October 1993). The operation of the SOS Helpline is firmly based on the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that emphasize the children rights to privacy and protection from harm. The purpose of the SOS Helpline for Children and Youth is to provide a forum for sharing information and to ensure support, advocacy and lobbying assistance, promoting children rights as well as promotion of the SOS Helpline itself as a medium for child support.
SOS Helpline for Children and Youth (the number is +389 (0)2 2465-316) in the course of all these years, had a total of 20,847 cases of reported cases that required and received some type of assistance, counselling or information.
The expert team of the SOS Helpline includes of pedagogues, psychologists, social workers and volunteers with these backgrounds. The volunteers have a special place in the operation of the SOS Helpline. In the talks, none of the expert team will provide ready-made solutions to the problems, but they discuss the possible alternatives to solving the problem for which they have called.
In the course of its operation, the SOS Helpline for Children and Youth has cooperated with a number of stakeholders - relevant institutions, other NGOs working in the area of child rights or in some way are concerned with the child rights, as well as with individual professionals. Depending on the type of the problem the callers have and also depending on the violation of the rights of the child, this service also deals with written referrals to the relevant institutions, monitors the procedures these institutions take in relation to the case and reacts if it finds that they fail to act in the best interests of the children.
Children need to talk about their rights, abuses, neglect, violence, poverty and exploitation. We listen to them, provide support in form of advice, counselling, directing them to relevant institutions or providing additional information. When we think it is necessary, we share the data and stories of children lives with the public by promoting the annual reports on the work of the SOS Helpline. We collect, systematize and analyze the data obtained through the SOS Helpline and report them in a form of annual report. We use these analyzes in the reports to inform and influence the policy and decision makers, and together with our partners we strive to reshape the lives of the children for the better.