A Safe Nest for Children in Refugee Centres, Netherlands

September 1, 2014 - December 31, 2019


The 'Nest model: a Home Away from Home' is an after-school programme developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Kinderpostzegels and ICDI. In essence it is a safe, stable place for children coming from difficult backgrounds, where they can receive psychosocial and educational support.

There are currently 2 of such Nests: one in the refugeecentre in Katwijk (running already for 2 years) and one in the refugeecentre in Burgum (operational since September 2016). The model from Bosnia has been adapted to the specific circumstances in Dutch refugeecentres. Hundreds of kids growing up in very difficult circumstances can make use of Nest, to enjoy creative group activities and individual psychosocial support.   

ICDI's role is to train the staff and volunteers of Stichting De Vrolijkheid, the main implementing organization, in the Nest approach, to support the process and to do research on the impact on the children. 



The Nest Centre is originally an after-school facility for children from multi-problem families. It was developed and pioneered in Bosnia and Hercegovina by Kinderpostzegels, with technical support from ICDI.

Starting in 2014 De Vrolijkheid, a Dutch organization that implements creative activities for children in refugee centres, has set up a Nest for children in the AZC in Katwijk where families that await deportation back to their countries of origin live. In September a second Nest was started in the AZC in Burgum.

As one can imagine, the children there experience a lot of stress. The main aim of the Nest Centre is to strengthen children’s resilience to help them cope better with their situation.

ICDI is involved in training and supporting the core staff, and does research into the impact.

In the coming years 4 more Nest centres will be established in other refugee centres in The Netherlands.




Facts and figures

Project manager

Mathijs Euwema

Partner organisation

Stichting De Vrolijkheid