World Vision Creating Safe Spaces to Help Children ‘come to terms with loss’ after Nepal Quake

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Lauren Fisher
National Director
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m 206.310.5476

KATHMANDU, Nepal (May 1, 2015) — On Thursday, April 30, World Vision launched activities at its first Child-Friendly Space (CFS) for children affected by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck central Nepal. In the coming days, the organization is setting up six of these safe spaces in Tudikhel and Lalitpur to help address the emotional needs of children who were impacted by the quake. World Vision is also creating temporary learning centers in the same locations.

“There are immediate emotional needs as well as practical ones. Many children lost everything they knew when the earthquake struck. It claimed lives of parents and friends, and reduced homes and schools to rubble,” said Arpanah Rongong, World Vision’s child protection specialist in Nepal.

“Child Friendly Spaces are protected places for children to start coming to terms with this loss, giving them a bit of calm amid the chaos. Young people often start expressing their emotions through artwork, which helps them start to make sense of the devastation around them.”

The Child Friend Spaces consist of an open-sided shelter made of blue tarps and bamboo poles, located on the edge of the tent cities of displaced people. There, young adult volunteers engage and encourage the children. Together they create, play, laugh, and relax with activities that include puzzles, drawing and coloring, singing and just having a chance to interact with other children facing the same situation.

“These activities are not just child’s play, they are a way for the children to experience again a sense of normal life,” said Rongong. “It’s important for the children to get back to a schedule, and to have something they can enjoy that they know is going to happen at a certain time each day.” One hundred eighty children attended the first session of the Child Friendly Space that opened Thursday in Kathmandu. Forty-four youth volunteers drawn from churches and other community groups underwent training to staff the six Child-Friendly Spaces that World Vision has planned. Working in their own communities, they’ll take part in rotating two-hour sessions for up to 50 children from 10 to 4 daily.

Over the coming days World Vision is continuing to meet the immediate needs of 100,000 people providing sleeping mats, blankets, water, temporary shelter as well as protection for children.

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.

Highlights

  • Six Child Friendly Spaces planned to be set up around Kathmandu Valley in the coming days.
  • Spaces allow a play for children to play, gain a sense of normalcy.
  • Forty-four youth volunteers in the local community underwent training to staff centers.