Child-Friendly Spaces are safe places where children can gather, learn and play during conflicts and emergencies.
As a tent, play yard or 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 connects 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.
A look at some of UNICEF's Child-Friendly Spaces around the world:
UNICEF staff engage children at a Child-Friendly Space in the Domiz refugee camp in Northern Iraq.
Displaced children in Bossangoa, Central African Republic, participate in a drawing session to manage distress from the conflict.
Two friends play a traditional game at the UNICEF-supported Child-Friendly Space at the Socoura displacement camp in Mopti, central Mali.
Children play at a UNICEF Child-Friendly Space in the Mandruzi Resettlement neighborhood, Mozambique.
A Child-Friendly Space in the town of Tanauan, Philippines, one of the areas hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan.
TOP PHOTO: Children play during their lunch break at Zilla Parishad Primary School, in Muhammadpur Village, in Maharashtra, India, where UNICEF works with educators and school staff to develop Child-Friendly Schools, which, like Child-Friendly Spaces provide safe and nurturing environments where kids can learn and thrive. © UNICEF/UNI144893/Singh