UNICEF and World Vision open “Espaço da Gurizada” in children shelters in Rio Grande do Sul

The UNICEF’s initiative, with World Vision as an implementation partner, aims to mitigate the impacts of the emergency on sheltered children

06 June 2024

Brasília, June 6, 2024 – Emergencies like the heavy rains in Rio Grande do Sul leave children and adolescents extremely vulnerable, far from home and school, at risk of various types of violence, and with profound impacts on their mental health. With that in mind, "Espaços da Gurizada" (Child Friendly Spaces, in free translation) are being set up in shelters in the city of Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul, starting this Monday, June 3. This initiative is part of UNICEF's response to the rains, in support of the Federal Government and local governments, with World Vision as the implementing partner.

"Espaço da Gurizada" spaces are safe and friendly areas aimed at providing care and protection for sheltered children. They are staffed with professionals such as educators, psychologists, and social workers to conduct non-formal education activities, recreation, psychosocial support, identification, and referral to the local network for cases of violence, protection, and promotion of the well-being of all children, as well as support and guidance for mothers, fathers, and caregivers.

The official inauguration of "Espaço da Gurizada" spaces took place on Monday, the 3rd, at the EMEF Carlos Drummond de Andrade shelter. Subsequently, spaces will also be opened in the Escola Municipal Professora Nancy Ferreira Pansera , Pastoral LaSalle, and at COM - Centro Olímpico Municipal (Municipal Olympic Center) shelters. These spaces are designed to be movable and placed in other locations, adapted to the local dynamics of emergency, needs and demands.

To support the activities with the children, the spaces are equipped with "Kits Aprender e Brincar" ("Learning and Play Kits") donated by UNICEF to the Social Development Secretariat of Rio Grande do Sul. These kits contain recreational, educational, and psychosocial support materials to provide playing and learning, helping to restore a sense of normalcy in exceptional and highly vulnerable situations.

UNICEF's vast experience in emergencies shows that children are highly vulnerable in those situations, impacting their mental health, far from home and school, and at risk of various types of violence. The 'Espaço da Gurizada' spaces are safe and welcoming places where trained professionals work with the children, helping to reduce their suffering in this moment through educational and recreational activities, while being vigilant for their protection against possible violence," explains Denise Stuckenbruck, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Brazil.

With our expertise in emergency situations, World Vision always seeks to assist, look for, and support the most vulnerable children, and it is no different in Rio Grande do Sul. The 'Espaço da Gurizada' spaces are essential to providing psychological assistance, offering a safe and supportive environment during this challenging period," says Henrique Santos, HEA Emergency Response Coordinator for World Vision Brazil.

World Vision will implement "Espaço da Gurizada" spaces in shelters in the city of Canoas. They are part of UNICEF's strategy for responding to the emergency caused by the rains in Rio Grande do Sul. UNICEF is responding at the invitation of the Federal Government, in partnership with the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship (MDHC - Ministério de Direitos Humanos e Cidadania), through the National Secretariat for Children's Rights (SNDCA - Secretaria Nacional dos Direitos da Criança e do Adolescente); the Ministry of Social Development and Assistance, Family and Fight Against Hunger (MDS - Ministério do Desenvolvimento e Assistência Social, Família e Combate à Fome), through the National Secretariat for Social Assistance (SNAS - Secretaria Nacional de Assistência Social); the Rio Grande do Sul Social Development Secretariat (SEDES - Secretaria de Desenvolvimento Social do Rio Grande do Sul); and the State Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents of Rio Grande do Sul (CEDICA - Conselho Estadual dos Direitos da Criança e do Adolescente do Rio Grande do Sul).

To enable its emergency response, UNICEF relies on the support of thousands of individual donors and partnerships with companies. The strategy has as its stratégic parters MSD and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). Partner: Takeda. Support: Beiersdorf, Nivea and Eucerin, Klabin and Serena.

Media contacts

Elisa Meirelles Reis
Oficial de Comunicação
UNICEF Brasil
Tel: (61) 98166 1649

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