World Vision is providing children living in the camps of Port-au-Prince with a safe place to spend time following January’s devastating earthquake.
Child-friendly spaces give children a supervised place to play, share their experiences and learn in an informal environment until they can return to school.
Here, children and parents at a child-friendly space in Parc Acra camp – where hundreds of families are living in shelters after losing their homes – talk about what the space means to them.
“I like coming to the child-friendly space. I have two friends here; we like to play games and pretend to cook.
“Drawing, reading and writing are what I like to do the most.
“Today they have been teaching us things like how we need to brush our teeth and comb our hair and clean our hands.
“When the earthquake happened I didn’t know what was happening. Something fell on my foot and I got hurt, but I am OK now.
“I feel better here in the camp because otherwise my house might fall on me. [Josephine’s house was damaged in the earthquake.]
“I was in kindergarten before the earthquake. I was meant to start first grade this year, but my school was damaged by the earthquake.”
“It’s been really beneficial to have the child-friendly space in the camp. Before the space was set up the children would run around in the dirt and dust with nothing to do.
“The activities help them use their minds. It’s good because they will not forget what they have learnt in school. I want Josephine to keep coming to learn and practice.
“If I know that Josephine is in the activities in the tent then I am happy to leave here there. I know where she is so I can get on with what I have to do.”
“I come to the child-friendly space to draw – I drew a house today. It’s not my house. My house was completely destroyed by the earthquake. It’s any house really.
“In my picture there is a dining room and sleeping room and stairs. This is the house I would like to live in.
“At the moment I am living in a tent here at the camp. I would prefer my house. I sleep on the floor and it’s very hard to sleep at night.
“I can’t go home. I live with my aunt here at the camp. My mother still goes to work. She cleans and does laundry.
“My brothers and sisters have gone to live in the countryside with my grandmother. My mum wanted me to stay here with her. I prefer to be with my mum, but I miss the others.”
“This is the first time that Jerry has come to the child-friendly space.
“Usually they play with the children and there are different activities. Today is the first day they have paper and crayons. He is having fun.
“The child-friendly space runs good activities. Now the children have something to do.
“The impact of the earthquake has deeply touched me. Our house was completely destroyed."
“There are 80 children here today.
“We divide the children by ages and run different sessions for them – dancing, singing, story-telling, physical exercise.
“We have been trained by World Vision in international law for child rights, child psychology, and different ways of working with children.
“The activities in the child-friendly spaces mean the children are not left alone while there is no school or formal education.
“We teach the children things like learning to share with others, and how to wash and stay clean when living in the camps, how to stay healthy.
“This morning we had an animation session about brushing your teeth and then we ran a drawing session.
“I have been working at the Parc Acra camp for two weeks now. Working with the children brings me joy.”