ChildFund was quick to establish Child-Centred Spaces (CCS) immediately following Typhoon Haiyan to provide a safe haven for children to play, socialise, learn and express themselves in a caring and supportive environment. At Tambulilid School, where ChildFund established its first CCS after the typhoon, a young mother, Rein, says: “I leave my daughter here while I stand in the long distribution line for food. She is only 5 years old. It is important she has a safe place to play under supervision.”
At a CCS, children take part in activities that help them overcome the traumatic experience they went through. It is also a place where children can be children again.
“For a few hours every day, I can forget what happened and play with friends,” says a smiling Angel, age 7. Marcela, a local ChildFund staff member, explains: “Children take part in drawing, singing, dancing, playing and storytelling, which allow emotional expression.”
Today, children are drawing. They are enjoying themselves. Marcela adds: “At first, most children drew pictures of the typhoon and the destruction, but in more recent days, they are drawing their family and friends. This is an important sign in post-trauma healing. Child-centred spaces help in this respect.”
More than 300 children participate daily at Tambulilid, one of three CCSs run by ChildFund in Ormoc. “We conduct separate sessions for different age groups, where we provide age-appropriate structured activities,” Marcela says. “Many youths are trained facilitators and have volunteered to conduct sessions for younger children, because they want to be active in the community`s recovery. We have also mobilised many volunteers. ChildFund has worked in Ormoc through a local partner organisation for many years and we have a strong relationship with the local community. We train our volunteers to provide basic support to children dealing with distress and shock from their situations and to recognise children who need to be referred for more specialised services.”