Child-Friendly Spaces for in Post-Flood Pakistan
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UNICEF reports on the critical effort to set up child-friendly spaces for children affected by the flood.


Child-Friendly Spaces for in Post-Flood Pakistan You are watching UNICEF Television. Natasha De Souza: In a country where child protection is already a neglected issue, thousands more children in Pakistan continue to be put at risk as a result of the displacement cause by the flood crisis. The floods have enhanced vulnerability risk for children who already face a threat of violence, abuse, exploitation and nearly all have witness death and the destruction of their schools and homes. Rehana Arshad: When the flood waters came, we we’re sleeping. We were awakened with the screams of people. We did not have time to pick up anything. We had only time to run with the water in full pressure behind us. Natasha De Souza: UNICEF and their partners are assisting affected children and families and the critical part of the effort involve setting up of safe spaces for children and women to ensure safety and a sense of normal seeing their lives once again. The Child Friendly Spaces provide life skills and recreational activities as well as much needed psychosocial support. Here, UNICEF has promoted a gender balance and especially encourages the participation of young girls. Rehana Arshad: When we first came here, we were very depressed. Then some aid workers opened a child center and asked all the children to participate. Noor Memon: When Rehana first came, she was very scared of all she and her family had gone through and had no confidence. She feels like she was not a good person because she did not speak or hear like the other children. We began to work closely with her to help her overcome her fear and gain back her self-esteem. Rehana Arshad: At this center, the workers are very kind. We get to play and draw and we even get dolls to play with. I had a doll in my village but the floods washed her away. Dr. Jabeen Fatima Abbas: Some people are going back to their original places but still they are going back, they don’t have homes, they don’t have the infrastructure and it is expected that they’ll be here for some time like maybe a couple of months more. So, we need to upscale them, we need to have more child friendly spaces so that we can reach out to more children, especially to the children who are hard to reach in areas which are not accessible. Rehana Arshad: I love the center. They even teach us writing and alphabets. In the village, my mother said I can't go to school because I can't speak or hear, so I don’t want to go back to my village, I want to stay here. Natasha De Souza: Although humanitarian assistants has addressed child protection, much more is needed to be done on key issues such as tracing missing and separated children, providing psychosocial care for traumatized children, preventing social discrimination and abuse. UNICEF urges the International Community to continue their support to further the creation and implementation of protective environments to equip these communities to better deal with the many risks they face. This is Natasha De Souza reporting from Jamshoro, Sindh. For more information, go to Unite for Children.