Child-friendly centres for Cyclone-affected children
Pa Pa, 3 years-old, in red dress joins child-friendly centre held in the Pagoda compound of Twante Township of Yangon Division. Pa Pa, a bright young girl, has never played with this kind of toys before. Pa Pa is among many children who lost their huts and are now taking temporary shelter in the Pagoda compound.
These child-friendly centres are set up by UNICEF in order to support the psychological and emotional needs of these young children affected by Cyclone Nargis. UNICEF is setting up child-friendly spaces for children in temporary shelters with the help of the community who offer these spaces. In partnership with NGOs, UNICEF has been providing technical support for recreational activities, life skills, non-formal education and first-aid care to these children. In addition, these children will be taught protective measure as such, to avoid strangers, to have personal hygiene. Depending on their age group, children are taught singing songs, and are told stories, and allowed to play games and with toys.
Through registering children at child-friendly spaces, separated and unaccompanied children affected by Cyclone can be identified in addition to attending to their health, psychological and emotional needs.
So far, UNICEF has been able to set up child-friendly centres in Hlaing Tharyar, Twante, Myaung Mya, Laputta, Kungyangone, Dallah and in North Okkalapa Townships.
Challenges lie ahead in identifying these spaces as communities who offer these spaces have their house roof open in addition to attending to the needs of the temporary displacements.