Child Friendly Spaces established in Attapeu
A month after the collapse of the dam, over 6000 survivors have been sharing cramped accommodations in tents and schools scattered over Sanamxay district. The living conditions in these evacuation centres have been very difficult for families as heavy rains continued over the past weeks. During this emergency, children are facing great disruption to their daily lives and to their social, peer, family and community support systems. Being in a new unfamiliar environment also means that children often lack opportunities and safe spaces to play and connect with their friends.
In order to support children and to help keep them safe, Save the Children has set up Child Friendly Spaces under the leadership of the Ministry of Education and Sports and in coordination with development partners. Supervised by trained facilitators, children can take part in educational, recreational and social activities. These spaces provide protective and nurturing settings for children and their families to have a sense of normalcy during this crisis. In addition, these spaces act as a bridge to help prepare children for a return to formal schooling. With the school year potentially delayed for hundreds of children, these Child Friendly Spaces are more essential than ever.
The collapse of the dam and the subsequent flooding is being described as the worst disaster in Laos in recent decades. Save the Children has been operating in Lao PDR since 1987 and works to ensure that children’s rights to education, health, protection and participation are fulfilled at all times, including during disasters.