Aid agencies estimate that 1.1m children in Nepal are missing out on a normal childhood following the massive earthquake of April 25th.
Many families lost their homes or are too scared to return to them and remain displaced, often living in the streets or any available open spaces.
Aid agencies have begun responding to the needs of these children by building child friendly spaces – large white tents where children can play, supervised by child protection staff. The activities help to address the emotional needs of children whose lives were devastated by the quake. Six child friendly spaces have so far been opened by World Vision, Save the Children and ActionAid, with more planned.
Save the Children built two new child friendly spaces over the weekend including one in Kamal Binayak in Bhaktapur.
Sarah Ireland, Save the Children’s Advocacy Manager in Bhaktapur, said: “A disaster like this is very distressing for adults, let alone children, who have experienced something no child should have to. Their exposure to trauma, disruption of daily routines, loss of lives, belongings and homes can have long-lasting psychological and social impact.
“A child-friendly space essentially takes them away from the rubble where they are faced with the memories of the earthquake, to a safe environment where they can play, learn, and talk through their experiences with other children. Simply put, they get to be children again.”
World Vision has built three child friendly spaces in Nepal.
Arpanah Rongong, Child Protection Specialist at World Vision Nepal, said: “There are immediate emotional needs as well as practical ones. Many children lost everything they knew when the earthquake struck. It claimed lives of parents and friends, and reduced homes and schools to rubble.
“Child Friendly Spaces are protected places for children to start coming to terms with this loss, giving them a bit of calm amid the chaos. Young people often start expressing their emotions through artwork, which helps them start to make sense of the devastation around them.”
ActionAid has built one CFS in Kot Danda and is planning more, to bring a sense of normality to children including those unable to return to school because the buildings were destroyed.
To make a donation to the DEC Nepal Earthquake Appeal visit: http://www.dec.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.
- £25 can provide clean water for four families for one month
- £50 can feed a family for two weeks
- £100 can provide emergency shelter for five families
Notes to editors:
For pics, b-roll and interviews with aid workers in Nepal or aid agency staff in the UK call 020 7387 0200 (choose option 3) or 07930 999 014 (out of hours)
UNOCHA estimates 2.8m people are displaced following the earthquake and 40% of this number is children, which is calculated as 1.12m children.
- The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
- All DEC agencies will support the appeal and are responding in Nepal.
- To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.
- Donations can be made at any high street bank and at post office counters. To donate £5 by text, send the word SUPPORT to 70000. The full £5 will go to the DEC Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.