What’s a Child Friendly Space?

Jun 29, 2016
10-Minute Read
Above: Psychosocial activities like this, help children deal with their trauma and start to heal. Photo: Alex Snary/World Vision
 
World Vision answers your frequently asked questions about Child Friendly Spaces.
 
What’s a Child Friendly Space?
A Child Friendly Space is a safe place set up in a disaster-affected community where children's unique needs can be met. These spaces help children return to a normal routine by offering activities, games and informal education.
 
World Vision recognizes that when emergencies occur, children are often the most susceptible to injury, exploitation, abuse and other dangers. Child Friendly Spaces are one of the ways we prioritize the care and protection of children in emergency situations.
 
How do they benefit children?
Child Friendly Spaces offer children a safe place to play and the support they need to deal with grief and loss. The centres are available to all children in a community, no matter how they’ve been affected by the disaster.
 
Child Friendly Spaces provide things like:
  • Fun activities, such as games, sports, singing, drama and puppet-making
  • Informal learning opportunities in reading, basic hygiene and life lessons
  • A chance for children to express their feelings of fear and loss through creative play, stories and group interactions
  • Distribution of things like lunch boxes, water bottles, books and drawing equipment to supplement the basic survival items World Vision distributes to families
  • Help to reunite separated children with their families
  • Protection and referrals for orphans, abused children or disabled children (children are referred to specialized services whenever possible)
  • A chance for parents to go about their daily activities without worrying about their children's safety. After emergencies, children can be injured from playing in collapsed buildings and houses.
How do they benefit communities and families?
Whenever possible, our programs are carried out with local partners such as community associations, national development groups and churches. Local volunteers and youth help organize activities for children, and can benefit from their own support group discussions.
 
World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
 
World Vision builds upon a community's traditional coping mechanisms and focuses on reconnecting children with family members, friends and neighbours. Child Friendly Spaces assure the safety of a community's youngest members by offering indoor and outdoor activity areas, waste disposal, latrines, washing facilities and potable water.
 
Where has World Vision offered Child Friendly Spaces?
In the early days of a disaster, World Vision assessments community needs and determines whether a Child Friendly Space is an appropriate intervention or support. Then, World Vision moves quickly by sending for equipment, recruiting volunteers and considering potential locations.
 
When you give to World Vision's Disaster Response Fund, you're helping us ensure that children are cared for during crises and emergencies.
Graphic of activities in a child-friendly-space including educational, emotional, nutritional, support, fun activities and protection