Media contactLaura Blank
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What are Child-Friendly Spaces?
- Child-Friendly Spaces are safe places within a disaster-affected community where children’s unique needs can be met. They help children return to a normal routine by offering structured activities, games and informal education.
- World Vision recognizes that when disasters occur, children are often the most vulnerable to injury, exploitation, abuse and other dangers. Child-Friendly Spaces are one of the ways in which we prioritize the care and protection of children in emergencies.
World Vision runs Child-Friendly Spaces in Darfur, Sudan, to provide a safe place for displaced children to play and learn. Photo by Jon Warren/World Vision
How do they benefit children in emergencies?
Child-Friendly Spaces offer children a safe place to play and the support they need to deal with grief and loss. The centers are available to all children in a community, regardless of how they have been affected by the disaster or displacement. Child-Friendly Spaces provide things like:
- Fun activities such as games, sports, singing, drama and puppet-making
- Informal learning opportunities in reading, basic hygiene and life lessons
- A chance for children to express their feelings of fear and loss through creative play, stories and group interactions
- Distribution of things like lunch boxes, water bottles, books and drawing equipment to supplement the basic survival items World Vision distributes to families
- Help to reunite separated children with their families
- Protection and referrals for orphans, abused children or disabled children (children are referred to specialized services whenever possible)
- A chance for parents to go about their daily activities without worrying about their children’s safety. After disasters, children can be injured from playing in collapsed buildings and houses.
How do they benefit communities and families?
- Whenever possible, our programs are carried out with local partners such as community associations, national development groups and churches. Local volunteers and youth help organize activities for children, and can benefit from their own support group discussions. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
- World Vision builds upon a community’s traditional coping mechanisms and focuses on reconnecting children with family members, friends and neighbors. Child-Friendly Spaces assure the safety of a community’s youngest members by offering indoor and outdoor activity areas, waste disposal, latrines, washing facilities and potable water.
Where has World Vision offered Child-Friendly Spaces?
- In the early days of a disaster, World Vision undertakes assessments specifically related to children. Where Child-Friendly Spaces are an appropriate intervention, World Vision moves quickly by sending for equipment, recruiting volunteers and considering potential locations.
- The 2004 Asia tsunamis left 1.5 million children orphaned, separated from their families or homeless. World Vision acted swiftly to offer special protection and comfort to the region’s children through more than 170 Child-Friendly Spaces.
- During 2006, Child-Friendly Spaces have brought hope to children who experienced disasters such as:
- The Lebanon conflict
- May Indonesia earthquake
- Flooding in Romania
- Mudslides in the Philippines