250,000 children are reported missing every year in the EU, which equates to 1 child every 2 minutes. Between 2014 and 2017 the equivalent of 60 school classes of children went missing in Sweden (1,736). In Italy where many start their journey through Europe 5,828 went missing, and in Germany there were 8,991 (867 of whom were under 13). Records show that up to a half of unaccompanied children go missing within the first 48 hours of being placed in European centres.
These children are not just dry statistics on a page. They are lost, hungry and exposed to the elements. It is crucial they find food, shelter, access to medical assistance and other critical information provided by trusted aid organisations nearby.
The groundbreaking Miniila smart phone app, initially available in 8 countries in Europe, has been launched by Shelley Taylor, the CEO of trellyz and creator of RefAid, and Missing Children Europe on April 11th 2018 at the Lost In Migration conference in Brussels. Migrant children see smart phones as necessity, using them for navigation and to keep in touch with their families back home. They often travel in groups and share other phones in the group.
H&M Foundation funded the initiative and the trellyz platform enables official aid organizations and government entities to coordinate and collaborate with each other, and to quickly and easily publish their services into the Miniila app. Missing Children Europe helps coordinate all of the organisations providing services in the Miniila app and makes sure there is information that explains the young migrant’s rights, rights they may not otherwise know they have.
“It is exciting to be able to put our technology to work to help this vulnerable population find more of what they need, when and where they need it. Knowing where it is safe to sleep or find food could prevent these children from going missing, being trafficked or worse,” says Shelley Taylor, founder of trellyz and creator of the app.
Running on the same platform used by RefAid, that helps refugees worldwide locate vital services from thousands of NGOs and charities as they travel across the continent, Miniila will keep migrant children connected to those who can help them. Software company trellyz worked with international aid organization Missing Children Europe to make this powerful app available to those who need it – children on the move and those dedicated to helping them. The mobile app will be readily accessible across Europe and is already available in eight countries.
Miniila app features:
- multi-lingual (audio and text)
- real-time information
- geo-location allowing users to see services near them on a map
- services, their opening hours and directions on the map
- regionally specific information
- a list of all organisations with services in the app, their services and contact information
- geo-targeted push notifications give users time sensitive information
While the app will be used by hundreds of aid organizations throughout Europe, key organisations using and promoting the app include: Save the Children, (Radda Barnen, Sweden), Child Focus(Belgium), Refugee Council, (United Kingdom), Médecins du Monde, (Belgium) Terre des Hommes, (Germany), The Nadja Centre Foundation (Bulgaria), ecpat (France), The smile of the child(Greece), Telefono Azzuro (Italy) and Translators without Borders.