World Vision to open Child-Friendly Spaces in Haiti
World Vision plans to open numerous children's centers across quake-devastated Haiti. The centers, called Child-Friendly Spaces, are designed to provide children with a safe and structured place to go during crises.
Our staff members have expressed concern that children -- especially those separated from their families -- are at risk for neglect, abuse, or exploitation. Particularly notable is the movement of children without families toward the border with the Dominican Republic.
Children most vulnerable
"When disasters hit, children are always the most vulnerable," said Nicole Behnam, a World Vision child protection specialist. "Their safety and security is of paramount concern, particularly for those who are separated from their families. The extreme poverty of Haiti already puts many children at risk of exploitation and abuse. Being separated from their families only increased their vulnerability."
At the centers, trained volunteers from the Dominican community will engage children in activities and games, as well as provide them with food, pediatric care, and child psychological support with the guidance of a child psychologist.
A supportive environment
World Vision also plans to establish recreational spaces, activities, and support to adults caring for their children.
World Vision frequently operates Child-Friendly Spaces in regions where children's lives have been disrupted by natural disaster, conflict, or exploitation. These spaces usually consist of large tents managed by World Vision staff and trained community volunteers where children can engage in activities -- such as playing, drawing, singing, and sharing their feelings -- that help them begin to return to a normal routine and heal from the emotional impacts of a catastrophic event.
"Right now, children's most urgent needs are basic necessities, primary healthcare, protection, and reunification with their families," said Behnam.
Join the conversation about Haiti. World Vision has a variety of social media outlets by which you can not only receive the latest updates on our relief response, but engage in dialogue with our staff members and other World Vision supporters.
Three ways you can help
Please continue to pray for those left devastated by this disaster in Haiti, especially for vulnerable children who have been separated from their families. Pray also for those who are now homeless, injured, lack basic essentials, and have lost loved ones.
Donate now to support World Vision's Haiti earthquake relief efforts. World Vision has created a series of funds to which you can make a donation to support immediate and long-term needs of quake survivors in Haiti. Our teams were in Haiti for more than 30 years before the quake struck; with the help of our supporters, we'll be there for many more years to come.
Sponsor a Child-Friendly Space for three months. For just $20 per month, you can help support one of these safe and structured places, run by trained volunteers and World Vision staff, where children can go to start recovering from this crisis.