It has been 70 years since FICE International was founded with the main aim to meet the needs of millions of children displaced or orphaned by World War II. Throughout its 70-year history, FICE has undergone many changes in order to reflect the changes in the field of child and youth care and to address the challenges of today's world.
Nowadays, FICE International is a network of organizations and individuals working in the field of child and youth care from more than 35 countries across 6 continents.
Members and partners from more than 25 countries gathered in Trogen, Switzerland from 4 to 7 April to celebrate the Anniversary of FICE International in the very place where it was founded - the Pestalozzi Children's Village, situated in the warm and friendly environment of the Swiss countryside.
The participants in this exciting gathering were warmly welcomed on the 4th April in the hall of the Pestalozzi children's village by the host Rolf Widmer(FICE International Treasurer and President of FICE Switzerland).
The welcoming ceremony continued with remarks by Damien Zimmermann, Director of the Pestlozzi Children's Village. Furthermore, he presented the current concept of the Pestalozzi Children's Village.
Warm welcome to the guests was further extended by Mr. Paul Signer, Landamann(Head of the canton) of Apenzell Ausserrhoden and Mrs. Dorothea Altherr, Mayor of Trogen.
The evening continued with a speech by David Lane, UK(Honorary President of FICE) who spoke about the Characteristics of FICE International. As main characteristics of FICE he outlined: the opportunities to learn from one another and exchange good practices and ideas, its continuity throughout the years, putting emphasis on the high quality of child and youth care services, promoting peace and friendship among nations. In the beginning FICE was predominantly European-centered, while in more recent years membership is being broadened with representatives of 6 continents.
Afterwards, FICE International President - Hermann Radler held a speech "Learning from the History of FICE International".
The welcoming programme was followed by a cocktail, organized by the Stiftung Pestalozzi Kinderdorf.
On 5th April, a conference was held, in which speakers from various countries and professional backgrounds presented good practices and research results. Clara Bombach, Research Associate at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Department of Social Work held a presentation “Life trajectories after leaving residential care in Switzerland1950-1990”. Researchers at the Institute for Childhood, Youth and Family at ZHAW Social Work investigated the effects of home experiences on the future course of life. They interviewed 60 people who had lived in a children's and youth home in the Canton of Zurich between 1950 and 1990. The results of the study were presented and discussed against the background of the current practice of child and youth welfare.
Dr. Annegret Wigger from the Institute for Social Work at FSH St. Gallen presented the topic “Recent public, political and individual debates on reappraisal and cohersive measures in Switzerland”. She presented the first results of project PARTISPACE, which aimed to study the different ways in which young people participate in decisions which concern them and, in general, the life of their communities. The talk focused on the different styles of participation met in the case studies, the biographical backgrounds and motives for engagement and which questions arise from that.
Dr. Djibril Fall from ISS West Africa and FICE West Africa presented his experience in working with Children on the move in the West African Region. The West African Network is a transnational coordination and collaboration mechanism between different actors in different countries for the referral, care and protection of vulnerable children on the move in West Africa. Children on the move identified in other countries (other than their country of origin) are returned and reintegrated in their country of origin / a third country or the country of identification.
Dr. Anna Katharina Schmid, Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute of Management and Social Policy at the School of Social Work of ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences presented a collaborative project between child and youth care homes in Switzerland and Hungary, called "Creating future", aiming to increase the chances that the approximately 1,000 children and youth in their care will transition well from residential care to other settings, will be fully included in society, and will live lives that they have reason to value. Key to this objective is the empowerment of the children and youth to take their development into their own hands, to develop ideas of a possible future, and to pursue these ideas actively and sustainably.
Tuhinul Islam Khalil, PhD, FICE Bangladesh, presented his experiences from field visits to the Rohyngia people(Nurturing Hope for Rohingya Orphans and Mothers Fleeing Burmese Genocide: Reflections on Personal Encounters in the Refugee Camps, Bangladesh). In his speech he presented findings from his recent visits to the Rohingya camps, where most individuals do not have access to adequate health care, safe drinking water or sanitation, there is no educational supports in place for children and young people and no psychological support is provided to traumatized children who have experience or witnessed terrifying events.
In the evening on 5th April the participants enjoyed the Official Birthday dinner of FICE. It took place in the Werkzentrum(Work centre) of the Tipiti Association, which supports young refugee minors, by providing them with shelter, care and support to integrate in the Swiss society. The dinner was prepared by the young people supported by the Association, who are now studying to become professional cooks. During the dinner, the participants had the opportunity to listen to and enjoy local music. The atmosphere was more than friendly and everyone had the opportunity to catch up about new developments since the last FICE meeting.
The Federal Council meeting of FICE International took place on 06.04.2018. Important decisions were discussed and voted on. New membership applicants presented themselves and were accepted as associate members. The new associate members are as follows:
FICE Japan, represented by prof. Shigeyuki Mori
The Mulberry Bush Organization, represented by John Diamond(CEO)