The investigation explored the tragic stories of unaccompanied minors, as well as the violations committed against this group, which is the most vulnerable among the refugee community, outside the country by presenting cases of grave violations, such as sexual abuse, torture, and exploitation by alternative families and smuggling gangs.
The investigation, which took roughly a year and a half to complete, reveals that some families exploit these children in order to gain UNHCR assistance.
The investigation delves into the challenges confronting this population, which is projected to number more than 50 million children worldwide, according to UNICEF estimates.
The press investigation achieved widespread reactions and was praised by Arab and international press organizations.
The investigation received special praise from the Jury of the Arij Prize for Arab Journalism, and was chosen as one of the best investigations of 2021, although the competition was with 255 investigations from all Arab countries.
It comprises verifiable testimonials, video interviews, and audio recordings that depict the hidden and unknown world of these uprooted youngsters from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, and Chad.
We used data journalism, infographics, videographics, illustrations and course media, and we used maps, soundcloud and other modern technologies.
What was the hardest part of this project?
**It is difficult to determine the true cases of unaccompanied children, in light of the discovery that some families have tampered with the registration of their children in violation of the fact that they are unaccompanied in order to obtain support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
**The majority of the cases we highlighted in the inquiry came from locations where people could not speak Arabic, had a different culture, and had mistrust in the community they came to, thus it took time to gain the trust of the cases and alternative families.
**Despite the difficulty of obtaining official statistics from responsible bodies and organisations interested in this category, we were able to obtain documented answers backed up by numbers from UNICEF organisations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Save the Children, the United Nations High Commissioner, and representatives of human rights organisations interested in refugees.
** The approach of dealing with a thorny file involving children, which required us to rely on illustrative and emotional drawings in some scenarios for some circumstances.
** One of the challenges we faced was determining how to display and use the data in a smooth manner that corresponds to the story and increases its strength during the presentation, especially since the investigation period lasted about a year and a half, requiring us to have a large press material in our possession that required a visual presentation so that we could review the information in our possession with the least space.
What can others learn from this project?
Data auditing and perseverance in the search for special and sensitive issues, dealing with children’s issues in a way that does not harm their dignity and rights, and that the best interests of the child are the most important.
Believing in the idea and insisting on getting it to fruition no matter whatThey can learn about the subject of the investigation and build on it, and on a different note they can see how to track down the sources and get them to talk and colect the data.