BEIJING, China, 5 August 2010 – In the aftermath of the April 2010 earthquake that struck Qinghai Province’s Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, UNICEF and the National Working Committee on Children and Women (NWCCW) have combined to establish four child-friendly spaces to support the long-term recovery and well-being of earthquake-affected children and women.
Thousands of children in Jiegu town, near the epicentre of the earthquake, have already accessed services at the child-friendly spaces, which have been set up to the south and west and in the centre of the town. The spaces offer children a complete package of community-based services, including psycho-social support, social work and structured play and recreation activities.
Return to school
UNICEF and NWCCW have provided each of the child-friendly spaces with a tent and equipped them with books, arts and crafts materials, sports equipment and toys for early childhood dev. Additional supplies – including Tibetan-language books, musical instruments, and toys and games for use in psycho-social support activities – continue to arrive.
“In the months since the terrible earthquake, residential tents were set up so children and their families could have safe places to sleep at night, and prefabricated classrooms were set up so children could return to school,” notes Xi Xiaoling, who chairs the Yushu Prefecture All-China Women’s Federation. “Now, with the child-friendly spaces, children in Jiegu town will also have a safe space in which they can interact with other children and, together, recover from the psychological distress of the earthquake.”
UNICEF training workshop
Earlier this month in Xining, the Qinghai provincial capital, UNICEF held a training workshop for staff, volunteers and managers at the child-friendly spaces. Also participating were social workers, psychologists and education specialists from Qinghai Normal University.
These local experts were joined by national-level experts who have worked with UNICEF over the course of the last two years in setting up child-friendly spaces in Sichuan Province, where a devastating earthquake struck in May 2008.
To date, the 40 spaces in Sichuan have provided services to more than 100,000 children. As UNICEF and its partners continue to develop services for young earthquake survivors in Qinghai, many more children will benefit.