Four million children have been affected by the consequences of typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) since it hit the Philippines. In order to better protect these children, over 200 Child Friendly Spaces have been set up in the provinces of Leyte and Panay. Handicap International works in these spaces to encourage the inclusion of the most vulnerable children.
Absence from school, child labour, domestic violence and sexual abuse: in the months following the devastating passage of the typhoon there was a steady increase in the risk of moral and physical violence towards children. Since last July, 200 Child Friendly Spaces have been opened in the provinces of Panay and Leyte by Unicef, with support from various humanitarian aid organisations. Handicap International is working in 50 of these Child Friendly Spaces to facilitate the inclusion of the most vulnerable children, including those with disabilities.
“The educators do not always know how to approach the children with disabilities, how to stimulate them and include them in activities with the other children,” explains Ann Mayuga, Inclusion Project Manager in Tacloban City. “Handicap International therefore provides training courses which equip educators or facilitators with specific techniques for guiding and supporting children with disabilities, as well as advice on making the Child Friendly Spaces accessible.”
“The organisation also works to build the capacities of local humanitarian organisations, government agencies, and child protection actors to ensure they adopt more inclusive approaches when implementing their projects and developing their educational processes,” Ann adds.
Myra, 30, from Alang-Alang, Leyte, tells her story:
“My two youngest children, Winston, 4 years old, and Niño Ian, 3 years old, have both been disabled since birth. They cannot walk. Looking after them takes up all of my time. They have been coming to the centre on a daily basis since July. They play, meet with other children and are increasingly alert. It is such a relief.”
More children in areas devastated by Haiyan still need your help. Support them now »
Banner photo © Till Mayer / Handicap International