Our work for children in Switzerland

We campaign for children’s rights to be fully implemented in Switzerland so that all children are protected against violence and receive child-friendly support.

In our projects, we give children and teenagers a voice and share our extensive expertise with other organisations and authorities. We can do a great deal together to protect and help children in Switzerland flourish.

Our work with refugee children and for children of imprisoned parents is one of the main focuses of our programme in Switzerland. In collaboration with our partners in the asylum sector, we create safe and child-friendly places within asylum shelters where refugee children can be children again. We also work with partners in the legal sector to strengthen child-friendly support for children in contact with their imprisoned parent.


Refugee children and teenagers are among the most disadvantaged population groups in Switzerland. It is one of our most important missions in Switzerland to protect and support them.

Many children and parents have witnessed terrible atrocities in their country of origin or while fleeing, or they have become victims of violence themselves. So that they may overcome their experiences and develop healthily, refugee children in Switzerland require child-appropriate care, safe accommodation and programmes to strengthen parental skills.

However, asylum shelters often lack the financial or human resources to create stimulating environments for children’s development.

Our programmes support asylum shelters in providing children and teenagers with spaces where they are protected, where they can play and where they are nurtured as children should be. We guide and advise asylum shelters throughout Switzerland in offering child-friendly activities on a regular basis, implementing child-protection measures and strengthening the competences of unaccompanied minors and parents.

Icon Stift

40% of all new asylum applications in Switzerland were submitted by minors in 2020.

Since 2019, child-friendly spaces and regular activities have been obligatory in all federal asylum centres, not least because of our pilot projects — we are very happy about this important achievement!

Nina Hössli Head National Programmes Save the Children Switzerland


Criminal proceedings, sentencing and imprisonment in particular always have serious consequences for the relatives. For children, these factors represent a massive interference in their experience of ‘normal’ family life and their need for a feeling of closeness and safety with their caregivers. The families’ financial and material security is often suddenly under threat too. The imprisonment of a parent is therefore associated with major insecurity, emotional stress and social stigmatisation for children.

Yet children and their particular vulnerability are often overlooked in the complex processes of criminal proceedings, correctional services and resocialisation.

Children have a desire for and a right to contact with their parents that is as unrestricted as possible – even if the parent is in prison for an offence. This is clear from current research and from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Save the Children is working in Switzerland to ensure that the needs and rights of children of imprisoned parents are given greater consideration.

Not my crime, still my sentence

Europäisches Netzwerk COPE (Children of Prisoners Europe)


Eglantyne Jebb, the founder of Save the Children, also pioneered today’s UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. As early as 1922, she wrote the first recognised “Declaration on the Rights of the Child” in Geneva. We continue to reflect her vision of a child-appropriate world in our projects.

Many children and adults still do not know enough about children’s needs and rights. We raise awareness of children’s rights among the population in Switzerland with the help of course materials for teachers as well as events and campaigns. Together with other organisations, we give children and teenagers a voice at a political level too. With our activities, we campaign for children’s rights and for a childhood without violence.

This also includes supporting other organisations in protecting children and teenagers from any form of violence during their activities. We offer consultation and expertise in developing clear guidelines and effective, sustainable measures for the protection of children (institutional child protection).  In doing so, we help to strengthen child protection in organisations in Switzerland.