World Vision begins setting up Child Friendly Spaces for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan

The world's largest international children's charity is taking the first step in rebuilding communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

Online PR News – 30-November-2013 – North Cebu, Philippines – Wednesday 20th November was the 69th anniversary of the first Universal Children’s Day, marked by World Vision in Northern Cebu, Philippines, by setting up the first of many Child Friendly Spaces required for young people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

After initial aid and medical centres have been set up in areas affected by natural disaster and other emergencies, child friendly spaces are created by World Vision as one of the first steps towards recovery. They aim to provide children with a place for respite from traumatic events around them, to play and receive counselling.

The main aim of Child Friendly Spaces is to give children somewhere they can simply “be a child” again, since they are facing circumstances that interrupt their childhoods, making it too dangerous for play. Children are advised by trained counsellors on the new environments they find themselves in and how they can protect themselves and their friends or family. This is all supported by nearby centres which provide the children with health check-ups and critical medicine such as vaccinations or malaria tablets.

Activities help to structure the counselling delivered. Dr Yvonne Duque, who is a health expert for World Vision in the Philippines, says that art plays an important role in enabling children to express themselves and come to terms with what has happened around them.

Duque states that: “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.”

In the long-term, Child Friendly Spaces can expand to include resources for education or set up teachers to deliver lessons and, in some cases, replace schools. They are the first building block in restoring normality for children and families at the heart of all communities.

Typhoon Haiyan destroyed thousands of buildings, killed thousands of people and destroyed the homes of tens of thousands. The devastation meant that it was extremely difficult to deliver aid in the early days after the disaster, but support is now being fully established. In the next few months an additional forty Child Friendly Spaces will be set up by World Vision.

Whilst people have been generous in their donations to support the victims of Typhoon Haiyan further support will still be needed to aid in the recovery.

World Vision is the world’s largest international children’s charity and works to make a real difference to those in emergencies around the world.

Universal Children’s Day was suggested by the United Nations in 1954, as a day to be dedicated to the welfare of children.

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