Child-Friendly Spaces Offer Fun, Safety and Relief

January 29, 2014

By

Claire Manibog

PBS featured UNICEF this month in a blog post highlighting Child-Friendly Spaces – safe places where children can gather, learn and play during conflicts and emergencies.

Even as simple as a tent or an outdoor classroom, a Child-Friendly Space plays an enormous role in giving a child a sense of normalcy amid chaos. Children are especially vulnerable during emergencies and conflicts. Many have been traumatized, some separated from their families. These children are also at greater risk of being exploited, abused or trafficked.

In situations like these, a Child-Friendly Space serves many purposes. It gives children a safe space to run, sing and play together. It offers children a chance to continue learning when going to school is no longer an option. And it provides children with health services like vaccinations, malnutrition screenings or psychosocial support.

It also serves as a gathering place where unaccompanied children can be reunited with their families, while protecting them from exploitation and trafficking.

Take a look at some of UNICEF's Child-Friendly Spaces:

UNICEF support workers talk to children in a Child-Friendly Space in Domiz camp for Syrian refugees in Iraq. © UNICEF/UKLA2013-00799/Karin Schermbrucker UNICEF support workers talk to children in a Child-Friendly Space in Domiz camp for Syrian refugees in Iraq. © UNICEF/UKLA2013-00799/Karin Schermbrucker
 
At a Child-Friendly Space in Bossangoa, Central African Republic, displaced children participate in a drawing session to manage distress from the conflict. © UNICEF/PFPG2013P-0443/ Laurent Duvillier Displaced children in Bossangoa, Central African Republic, participate in a drawing session to manage distress from the conflict. © UNICEF/PFPG2013P-0443/ Laurent Duvillie
 
Syrian refugee children start a game of soccer at the Domiz camp in Iraq. © UNICEF/UKLA2013-02433/Sharron Lovell Syrian refugee children start a game of soccer at the Domiz camp in Iraq. © UNICEF/UKLA2013-02433/Sharron Lovell
 
Children play in one of the first Child-Friendly Spaces opened after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. © UNICEF/PFPG2013P-0320/Kent Page Children play in one of the first Child-Friendly Spaces opened after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. © UNICEF/PFPG2013P-0320/Kent Page
 
A Child-Friendly Space in the town of Tanauan, Philippines, one of the areas hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan. © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1222/Jeoffrey Maitem A Child-Friendly Space in the town of Tanauan, Philippines, one of the areas hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan. © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1222/Jeoffrey Maitem