Warmste Week fundraising drive begins with focus on children and young people in Flanders
VRT's annual radio and television charity drive De Warmste Week (The Warmest Week), begins on Monday evening with the theme "growing up without worries". Studio Brussels and MNM will run the non-stop broadcast from 't Zand Bruges while hosts raise awareness and money for the cause over seven days.
Presenters Eva De Roo, Sander Gillis, Sam De Bruyn and Robin Keyaert will bring awareness to the struggles faced by young people in Flanders during the campaign.
According to Bruno Vanobbergen of youth support agency Opgroeien, the former children's rights commissioner, the number of children who are in an unsafe situation at home has increased significantly. "In two years, the number of cases [of families with vulnerable home situations] has risen from 30,000 to almost 34,000."
Over the last few years, Opgroeien's crisis support service has received many more requests from young people in difficult situations: approximately 40 per cent more calls in 2022 than five years ago. The hotline receives about 42 calls from children and young people every day. In two-thirds of cases, no shelter can be provided due to lack of space.
In addition to challenging circumstances at home, children and young people in Flanders also suffer bullying, with one in five having experienced intimidation. With more access to online platforms, harassment is not only limited to in-person interactions. According to figures from media literacy organisaiton Mediawijs, 17 per cent of young people have faced cyberbullying or online harassment, and 13 per cent reported incidents happening daily.
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