New playground and kindergarten for displaced children in Georgia
TSEROVANI, Georgia - 24 April, 2009
From today 25 children going to the kindergarten in the Tserovani settlement for IDPs will be able to also use their own kindergarten-playground. The kindergarten and the playground were set up by the Elisabeth Gast Foundation with the support from UNICEF. The kindergarten is envisaged for 3 to 6 year old children, uses a peculiar art-based approach and aims at fostering creativity, restoring children’s inner balance and psychosocial well-being.
The kindergarten in Tserovani was opened in February 2009. The Tserovani is one of the biggest IDP settlements with newly constructed cottages for more than 6000 IDPs.
Since September 2008 the Elisabeth Gast Foundation has been carrying out psycho-social work through artistic activities and art therapy with IDP children in the collective centres of Tbilisi, and in the conflict affected villages and IDP settlements of the Shida Kartli region of Georgia.
In response to the August conflict and to ensure the rights of children for protection and development, by the end of 2008, UNICEF in partnership with World Vision, IRC, and Elisabeth Gast Foundation established up to 60 child-friendly centres, including recreation, informal learning and sports for children in collective centres in Tbilisi and Gori, Shida Kartli villages and in the IDP settlements.
The child-friendly spaces are aimed at children of age 3 to 17 leaving in and around the conflict affected areas. In particular, children have a special place to play – a fun place with sports, team and cultural activities to allow the children to switch off from their worries and concerns; children are provided with formal and Informal education like literacy and numeracy, computer skills, life skills, health education in new environments, psycho-education, sports competition and intellectual competitions and debates.
The centres allow children to get better prepared for school, to freely express their ideas and feelings. The Child-friendly centres also allow parents and caregivers to attend to their daily activities without worrying for their children’s safety. In addition, they act as a resource centre for parents who require support on different matters (health, nutrition, protection etc.) and may also provide a referral entry point.
In August 2008, hostilities broke out in Georgia leading to both internal and external displacement of large numbers of people, including children. UNICEF, as the leading international children’s agency with an ongoing development programme in Georgia, was quick to respond to the needs of the conflict-affected children and their families, providing supplies to the most vulnerable within the first few days of the crisis. In late August, the displaced slowly began to return to their homes in the conflict-affected areas. Out of the remaining IDPs, it is estimated that up to 30,000, mostly originating from South Ossetia or Abkhazia, will not be able to return to their homes in the foreseeable future1. In addition, some 220,000 IDPs remain from previous conflicts.
For further information, please contact:
Maya Kurtsikidze, Communication Officer, UNICEF Georgia