Smiling again after the flood in Laos

Helping children play and learn after the emergency

Simon Nazer
A boy smiles in a unicef supported child friendly space in southern laos
20 September 2018

Since a huge flood in the south of Laos left thousands homeless, child friendly spaces have been set-up in remote camps to give children a safe place to play and learn every day.

UNICEF and partners, with the support of the Australian Government and USAID, are supporting the Government to create a happy space to help children heal from the trauma of the disaster.

We recently visited some spaces and the smiles tell their own story.


a young boy smile sitting on a slide in a child friendly space
Nado, 2, on a slide in a child friendly space

“I want to come back tomorrow!”

Nado, 2, Sanamxai camp
a smiling child on a slide
a smiling child at the bottom of a slide


2-year old Donut, right, couldn’t get enough of the activities. “I like it lots,” she said. “I hope I can come again every day!”


children playing a game in a child friendly space


One mother who was watching her child play really valued the child friendly space.


“My daughter likes it here very much,” she says. “I think this is really great for the kids.”


chldren jumping in a chld friendly space

“I think it’s good to bring the children together. It’s much more active here than just sitting in our tent, alone with her few toys. I can see she’s more active and happy here.”

Vanmai, mother
Child friendly space tent

The child friendly spaces allow children to heal after the trauma of the floods where thousands of people lost their homes and livelihood to huge floods.

The tent is equipped with UNICEF’s School in a Box and volunteer teachers have be trained to give children and mothers support to move on from the trauma.

As well as playing, children also learn while their schools are closed. This helps keep their learning on track before they can go back to school and restart their lives.

UNICEF is continuing its work for the many children affected by the floods to help them and their families get their lives back on track.


a girl reads a book supplied in the child friendly space
Reading materials are also supplied to children