From the Field

Child-Friendly Spaces: Safe places for children in need

Child-Friendly Spaces provide a safe space for children during emergencies such as conflict, natural disaster, or potentially exploitative situations.

Child-Friendly Spaces are programs that support the well-being of children during emergencies. That can encompass risks of all kinds: conflict, natural disaster, or potentially exploitative situations.

Here are five places where World Vision’s Child-Friendly Spaces and the staff who run them are helping vulnerable children.

Child-Friendly Space in Bangladesh

More than 2,300 Myanmar refugee children in Burmapara, Bangladesh, regularly attend World Vision’s Child-Friendly Spaces. They get the opportunity to express themselves, learn, and play with other children in sessions led by trained facilitators. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Annila Harris)

World Vision also facilitates Women and Young Children Friendly Spaces (WYCFS) in Burmapara. These spaces cater to the needs of pregnant and lactating mothers and children under five. Trained facilitators screen little ones, including 1-year-old Shahera, for malnutrition. Shahera was found to be underweight. Her mother received a referral note from WYCFS staff for one of the nearby health centers, where Shahera was given nutrition packets and placed on a feeding plan. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Annila Harris)

Child-Friendly Space in the Central Africa Republic

Staff lead children in a boisterous song at a Child-Friendly Space in one of the sub-prefectures of Damara, Central African Republic.

World Vision’s Child-Friendly Spaces in this area are also Peace Clubs. The clubs were launched in 2014 to help children — including demobilized soldiers — cope with the impacts of conflict, build social cohesion and peace-building efforts, and provide children with a safe place to play and congregate. World Vision provided play materials and playground equipment to each of the child-friendly peace clubs. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Corey Scarrow)

Child-Friendly Spaces for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Teacher Rita Cholakian plays games with her young students at World Vision’s early childhood education center. This UNICEF-funded and World Vision-started project reaches about 200 refugee children from ages 3 to 6 with educational activities that prepare them for formal schooling. In colorfully decorated classrooms staffed by attentive teachers and assistants, the kids learn basics in Arabic and English — numbers, days of the week, months, seasons, colors. They also learn good hygiene practices, problem-solving, and social skills. They sing, do art projects, play outside, and eat snacks.

Although the children are too young to remember Syria and Iraq, many are exposed to deprivation and violence in the informal tent settlement, and some of them have experienced child labor. The center is an oasis of fun, affirmation, and learning. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

Child-Friendly Spaces in South Sudan

Soccer is only one of the activities organized by World Vision staff at Child-Friendly Spaces in South Sudan. The sport gives youth like Dina an opportunity to set aside the stress of their experiences and focus on being a kid again.

“I feel like football has made me stronger,” says 18-year-old Dina. “Football makes me the happiest. When I play, I don’t think about anything else, I just concentrate. When I go to school, I can concentrate better too.” (©2018 World Vision/photo by Mark Nonkes)

Child-Friendly Spaces in Uganda

South Sudanese children from World Vision’s Child-Friendly Space in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement act silly after drawing their dreams inside the classroom. Apartial an online community of artists partnered with World Vision to enable children living in the settlement to tell their stories through art. (©2017 Oscar Durand for World Vision) 

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