Entries marked "Child-Friendly Spaces"

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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham meets young survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in visit to Philippines

By Thomas Nybo

TACLOBAN, Philippines, 18 February 2014 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham spent his Valentine’s Day visiting young survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

For two days, Mr. Beckham toured Tacloban and the surrounding areas, which were among the hardest hit when the powerful storm ripped through the central Philippines 98 days ago.

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Transitional learning spaces provide safe, resilient learning environments for children living in emergencies

By Carlos Vasquez
Architect, Child Friendly School Designer, UNICEF

NEW YORK, USA, 7 February 2014 – As we publish the 2013 edition of the Compendium of Transitional Learning Spaces (TLS), over 2 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, making this one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history, with no foreseeable end. The refugee population in the region could reach over 4 million by the end of 2014. Children must endure far-reaching hardships and danger to escape and seek refuge across neighboring countries. This disrupts their schooling and moreover, the most vulnerable children are often disproportionally affected.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1330/Noorani
Eager to respond to their teacher, children raise their hands during an Arabic lesson at a UNICEF-supported kindergarten in Homs in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Similar conflicts and natural disasters are affecting local communities and marginalized children in many parts of the world today: escalating violence in the Central African Republic is posing a threat to children, where thousands are being recruited into armed groups instead of going to school; the Arab Spring has disrupted access to education for millions of children; and in areas of the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan, about 90 per cent of school buildings were damaged – more than 3,200 schools in all – leaving over a million pupils and 34,000 teachers with no place for learning.

Less than a month after the Typhoon, I was very happy to hear that the Ministry of Education in the Philippines was using the TLS 2011 to budget, program and plan a back-to-school campaign for the hardest-hit children in Tacloban. The TLS Compendium has helped drive the emergency response and enabled partners to rebound quickly and start designing appropriate and cost-effective learning spaces for children and families impacted by the Typhoon.

There is a critical difference between spending money versus investing in education. In Jordan’s Zaatari camp, which hosts nearly 130,000 Syrian refugees, we convinced donors of the long-term benefits of healthy learning environments in emergencies. A TLS is not a stand-alone structure ‘classroom,’ but a holistic learning environment with a set of facilities, including WASH services, areas for external play, internal learning spaces, teacher and staff space and perimeter fencing. In the Zaatari refugee camp, we designed and built three schools to serve more than 15,000 students in two shifts.

The TLS Compendium is predicated on the principles of Child Friendly Schooling, the minimal components to activate healthy learning environments for children. The profound social benefits of this programming are far-reaching. The second edition of the TLS compendium follows the same initiative of the 2011 edition: collect and centralize technical information, develop basic architectural drawings and provide cost-effective recommendations to improve the quality of these spaces in the context of emergencies.

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For one Palestinian girl, confidence is found in education and activities

By Monica Awad

KUFR ZEIBAD, State of Palestine, 6 January 2014 – Mariam is 14 years old. She lives in Kufr Zeibad, a tiny village in the northern West Bank. She attends school and will work in the family’s small sewing shop, once she has completed her secondary education.

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A mother flees in search of safety, again – this time in Chad

By Alex Duval Smith

A migrant, a refugee and now a returnee to her native Chad, a mother fleeing violence with her children is still unable to return home.

TISSI, Chad, 2 January 2014 – Khadidja Dramane* has reached the age of 50 without really knowing where to call home. Most recently she fled the Central African Republic. “First the rebels and the Government clashed. Then came the Janjaweed,” she says, referring to militia groups operating in western Sudan. “They are robbers. They kill people, burn villages, then steal the livestock. I travelled for six days on a truck to get here.”

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Christmas in Tacloban: Ruins and hope

By Marissa Aroy and Diana Valcarcel

In the Philippines, for the millions still struggling to recover from the devastation left by a deadly typhoon, the holiday season is a time of both sorrow and celebration.

TACLOBAN, Philippines, 24 December 2013 – Christmas celebrations will be muted this year in Tacloban and across the Philippines, where more than 14 million people have been affected by one of the largest typoons on record.

Yet less than two months after Typhoon Haiyan – known here as Yolanda – left a path of death and destruction, Filipinos are finding a way to celebrate the holiday.

In the Tacloban neighbourhood of Magallanes, a lone Christmas tree stands surrounded by debris and rubble. It’s one of many signs of hope amid the wreckage.

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Displaced families struggle to rebuild their lives after Typhoon Haiyan

By Marissa Aroy

A month after Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines, life is slowly returning to normal in hard-hit Tacloban, but as the experiences of these families show, there are tough choices to make, and things will never be quite the same.

TACLOBAN, Philippines, 11 December 2013 – Morning finds evacuees at the Rizal Central School sleeping on top of school desks, benches, and on the floor side by side. “We’re like sardines,” says Dennie Monteroso, a mother of six children. In this one classroom, 22 families share cooking duties, eat together on desks, and share meals of relief goods – canned sardines and packs of dried noodles, mostly.

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