Creating Child Friendly Spaces in Nepal

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We have started a child friendly space in Barabise, Sindhupalchwok to support the children of families impacted by the earthquake. The children are excited to be there and play together with friends and neighbours. Ninety six children have been registered to participate at this child friendly space, which is part of a broader program that focuses on family preservation.

ACCI Relief is working with on the ground contacts from Next Generation Nepal. ACCI Relief and Next Generation Nepal are both members of the Better Care Network, a network of organisations focused on the issue of children without adequate family care and working towards reducing family separation and supporting family based alternative care.

[Photo: NGN/THIS Child Friendly Space]

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UNICEF estimates that over 1.7 million children have been affected by this disaster. Children are widely recognised as the most vulnerable group during a disaster especially children left unaccompanied and separated from their families. Unfortunately based on evidence from past disasters, people use the vulnerability of these children and families as an opportunity for exploitation.

Traffickers’ preying on vulnerable families, offering safety and education for their children in ‘orphanages’ in Kathmandu and the practice of exploiting the vulnerable for financial gain is already a huge issue in Nepal. This recent disaster will exacerbate this issue even further as the disaster has left thousands of families in dire situations and hyper-vulnerable to this form of exploitation. There is already emerging evidence of exploitative ‘orphanages’ trying to profit from ‘earthquake orphans’.

ACCI Relief is working with our on the ground contacts, who are part of the ‘UN Child Protection and Family Reunification’ cluster, to establish a new child protection and anti-trafficking project. The project is now operating in the worst affected district of Sindhupalchowk, especially in the town of Bahrabise and surrounding villages were there are not many other agencies working and where many villages have been isolated and badly affected by the disaster.

[PHOTO: NGN/THIS Children listen enthusiastically to a story in the Child Friendly Space in Bharabise].

In the child friendly spaces, the children participate in a program which offers a mix of fun, learning and awareness. It allows the team to gather the critical data that is allowing them to assess the situation of the families of these children who have been affected by the earthquake. 

The project is also working to raise awareness about the dangers of trafficking among those who are now especially vulnerable.  Workshops are being held to raise awareness of trafficking, the prevalence of orphanage recruitment and to advocate for family preservation and proper gatekeeping in order to prevent the unnecessary institutionalisation of children.

The project has also begun to register the details of families and unaccompanied children arriving from the surrounding villages and will work to trace and reunify separated and orphaned children with their parents or members of their extended families.

Support will be provided to assist and strengthen families who are at risk of falling victim to trafficking, including rehabilitation and assistance with rebuilding their livelihoods. 

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[PHOTO: NGN/THIS Program Director Samjyor took this photo of a camp set up on a terraced hill in Sidhupalchowk where he has been working tirelessly for 6 days leading the NGN team in collecting data, providing relief, and assessing the situation of children in this district where over 66,000 homes are now destroyed or uninhabitable.]

Our partners, Next Generation Nepal (NGN) and The Himalayan Innovative Society (THIS), are not-for-profit organizations dedicated to reconnecting trafficked children with their families and within their home communities in Nepal through a careful process of reconnection and reunification. 

To make a donation to the Npeal Earthquake Appeal, click here