Child Friendly Spaces being set up in Northern Cebu to give children a place to play, learn, and recover

Wednesday 20, Nov, 2013

On this, the 69th annual Universal Children’s Day, World Vision has begun setting up its dedicated ‘safe spaces’ for children affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Child_Friendly_Space.JPGDr Yvonne Duque, a health expert for World Vision in the Philippines, said: “Child Friendly Spaces are a safe place for children to express themselves and start coming to terms with what has happened – often by explaining their emotions through artwork. They start drawing their surroundings, where they live, and this starts helping them understand why this happened. The healing process will take years and it’s crucial to start right now.”

A Child Friendly Space is staffed by trained counsellors, who are there to help children express their feelings and give them a safe place to simply be a child. Inside, children are given information on how to protect themselves and their friends from the dangers in their changed environment. Another nearby space provides the children with health check-ups.

The first Child Friendly Space will be set up today, Wednesday 20 November, by World Vision, in northern Cebu. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed so large tents will be used. Around 40 additional safe spaces will be set up in the coming weeks and months.

Longer-term, Child Friendly Spaces can include educational tools, lessons, and even become a small version of a school.