A young boy from Honduras, standing outside.
10 July 2021

Protecting children during an emergency

Read how Omar receives vital support at a Child Friendly Space.

How your support is helping the most vulnerable children

I pray, God give me the strength to go home, I don’t know when I’m going to go,” says Omar, six.

Omar and his sister Lupita, eight, are unable to go home. Their home no longer exists. In November last year, Hurricane Eta swept across Honduras, destroying communities and lives.

The eye of the storm passed right over Omar’s home town. Wind, rain, floods and landslides devastated homes, schools and livelihoods, leaving many families with nothing. 59,160 families, including Omar’s, were evacuated and 4.5 million people were affected.

Omar
Everything was ruined, the things in my house. In the street, the water current carried us. My mom was holding me, she carried me.

Omar

Age 6, from Honduras

To help families survive and meet their immediate needs, hundreds of shelters were set up. This provided vital food, basic essentials and a safe place to sleep for families who had lost everything.

As flood waters subsided, many families returned to see what was left of their lives. Cleaning and repairing began, but for many families like Omar’s, there was nothing left to save.

With nowhere else to go, Omar and Lupita lived in one of the shelters with their parents. Extended COVID-19 lockdowns, the shock of the hurricane, the loss of his home and possessions and the uncertainty of the future began to overwhelm Omar. World Vision staff noticed visible signs of sadness and anxiety.

Thankfully a Child Friendly Space was set up near his shelter. In areas of crisis and emergencies, World Vision helps children survive traumatic events with physical and emotional support.

Child Friendly Spaces provide time for fun, laughter, play and relief. Professionally designed activities encourage children to express their feelings and ultimately learn coping mechanisms.

Omar and his older sister taking part in an activity at a child friendly space.
Thanks to you, Omar, 6, and his sister Lupita, 8, have been able to take part in activities in the Child Friendly Space set up near their shelter.
Omar and his older sister taking part in an outdoor activity at a child friendly space.
Activities in the Child Friendly Space encourage children to express their feelings following traumatic events.
Omar with his football, which he's able to play with at the child friendly space.
Child Friendly Spaces provide a safe place for children to have fun and play, and provide relief from the trauma they've experienced.
Omar and his sister Lupita are dancing with other children at the Child Friendly Space.
Omar, 6 and his sister Lupita, 8, are dancing at the Child Friendly Space.

How your support in emergencies helps vulnerable children to recover and rebuild

At first, Omar didn’t want to join in, choosing instead to hide behind an old sofa. But he gradually started to listen and the classes helped him find a sense of calm and trust.

Through the classes, Omar and Lupita were able to express their heartbreak at losing their puppies due to the flood water. By being encouraged to draw, Omar also shared about how he missed his toys: a bike, a ball, a heart-shaped pillow and the grass where he used to play.

He is now able to receive vital counselling that will help him recover from the trauma he's experienced and rebuild his future.

 

A picture drawn by Omar of the toys he missed the most - a bike, a ball, a heart shaped pillow and the grass where he used to play.
Omar was able to express what he missed the most through his drawing - a bike, a ball, a heart-shaped pillow and the grass where he used to play.

In places where World Vision sets up Child Friendly Spaces, coping mechanisms are vital. For children living in the world’s most dangerous places having tools to cope emotionally can change their life and future.

Thanks to you, Omar now has hope.

Together, we’ll continue to save and protect the most vulnerable children living in the world’s hardest places. Helping them survive, recover from trauma and rebuild a future.

Your support is helping now more than ever, thank you.

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