When disaster strikes, children’s right to play often gets left behind. The pressing needs of survival take precedent. To help children overcome the trauma of disaster, and help their lives go back to normal as soon as possible, Plan creates child-friendly spaces where children can come to play, learn, relax and get support. When children are spending time at the child-friendly centres, this also frees up their parents’ time to deal with pressing issues such as securing food and housing.
Children who visit Plan’s child-friendly spaces get involved in activities such as singing, dancing, art and sports. This helps them have time to enjoy just being a child, away from the pressures of their disaster-stricken communities. Plan also provides psychosocial support – a sort of “emotional first aid” – to children who come child-friendly centres. Programs for older children include learning about their rights, sexual education, and workplace or business skills. Child-friendly spaces are especially important for girls, who are often the most vulnerable in disasters.
What kinds of activities or materials do YOU think Plan’s child-friendly spaces should have?