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Why Child Friendly Spaces are vital

Co-workers from Serbia and Macedonia play with children in the SOS Child Friendly Space at the refugee centre in Tabanovce, Macedonia
Co-workers from Serbia and Macedonia play with children in the SOS Child Friendly Space at the refugee centre in Tabanovce, Macedonia

In times of humanitarian emergencies, children are often the most vulnerable. We believe that every child should grow up in a secure environment, which is why we designate safe areas during a crisis where children can play and forget their troubles.

What is a Child Friendly Space?

SOS Child Friendly Spaces are a central pillar of our emergency response work to help protect vulnerable children and their families during emergency situations. These safe spaces for children are a place where they are protected from harm and are able to have nutritious meals and safe drinking water, health services, counselling, and can continue learning.

Children have the chance to express their feelings through arts and crafts as a method of communicating their trauma. SOS staff working at our Child Friendly Spaces have experience dealing with trauma.

When is an SOS Child Friendly Space used?

Staff member at SOS Child Friendly Space in CAR
Children playing in the SOS Child Friendly Space in Central African Republic in 2014.

When a disaster strikes near an SOS Children’s Village, our emergency response team will monitor the situation and evaluate the needs of children in the area. Our Chid Friendly Spaces have been used for immediate and short-term relief in a range of humanitarian emergencies such as the Nepal earthquake, the European refugee crisis, Typhoon Haiyan, and the 2011 East Africa drought.

Who benefits from Child Friendly Spaces?

SOS Child Friendly Spaces do not just benefit children. These critical spaces also serve as a safe childcare method for parents. Knowing that their children are safe in an SOS Child Friendly Space, parents have the time to work on pressing matters, such as finding food and water, relocating relatives and friends, re-establishing their livelihoods, and assisting their community in recovering.

Beneficiaries and SOS staff members have reported improvements in the levels of stress, trauma, and fear among the children and parents who use the Child Friendly Spaces.

Learn more about our emergency relief work. 

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