Child-Friendly Spaces in IDP collective Centres of Tbilisi
230 children will receive psychological support and will be able to play and to learn7 November, 2008. Six collective centres for those IDPs who fled the recent hostilities in and around South Ossetia, Georgia, will have special places for children thanks to the joint efforts of UNICEF and World Vision. Child-friendly spaces were launched in the six collective centres in Tbilisi to create safe and comfortable place where children and youth can meet and interact with new friends, play sports and receive formal and non-formal education.
“The conflict has shattered the lives of children and we are concerned about the impact that the fighting and the ongoing displacement has on their lives…both now and for the long term.” said Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Georgia. “ This is why it is essential to ensure resumption of normal childhood activities without delay. Creation of child-friendly spaces in collective centres will provide the children with wide range of psycho-social and education interventions that are essential for their rehabilitation and provide a sense of normality”.
More than 200 IDP children of age 3 to 17 leaving in and around the collective IDP centers will receive better care and services in the child-friendly spaces. 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 centre allows 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 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. While an estimated 73,000 of the 128,500 persons displaced in Georgia have been able to return home during the first two months, a significant proportion, or approximately 55,000 individuals, are still displaced. Around 15,000 of them are children. Out of the remaining IDPs, it is estimated that some 32,000, mostly originating from South Ossetia or Abkhazia, will not be able to return to their homes in the foreseeable future . In addition, some 220,000 IDPs remain from previous conflicts.
For further information, please contact:
Maya Kurtsikidze, Communication Officer, UNICEF Georgia