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Many children, who were in distressed during the current wave of flood, that wreaked havoc in Assam, have got a secure place to stay thanks to Save the Children.

The Save the Children, a leading child rights organization, opened Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) in flood ravaged Dhemaji district.

More than 17 lakh children were affected in the current wave of floods in the state.

Also known as Temporary Respite Care, two CFS have been opened to cater to the children of Rabha Sonowal and Uluoni villages in the north Assam district.

“In a natural disaster like flood we are most concerned when our children are exposed to the threat of displacement, deprivation from psychosocial care, missing school days and subsequent risk of abuse and exploitation.

“Child friendly shelters can offer a range of solutions to these challenges. I highly appreciate this important and commendable action by Save the Children in giving a safe space for children in this hour of humanitarian emergency,” Lohit Gogoi, DPO, Dhemaji district disaster management authority, said.

Chittapriyo Sadhu, general manager Save the Children added, “Over the past few years of experience in humanitarian response in Assam, we have seen the necessity of running CFSs for care and protection of children. This year also, we have rapidly set up CFSs with trained facilitators. This not only helps children in continuing their education and psychosocial support but also protects them from abuse and any form of exploitation. We are very grateful to the government of Assam for their support to this approach”.

Local CFS volunteers recruited and trained in leading and monitoring activities with children hold a variety of activities to keep the children engaged, said a Save the Children official.

Save the Children follows standard guidelines in running Child Friendly Spaces in emergency response, to ensure children are safe in shelters, assistance centers and other locations where families collect during disasters.

These are designated area where children can get psychosocial support, continue their education and begin to recover during emergencies.

The purpose of a Child-Friendly Space is to provide children with protected environment in which they can participate in organized activities as they rebuild their lives.

During any humanitarian crisis, the specific needs of children are often neglected. Bodily harm and disease take enormous tolls and can psychologically be very taxing.

In addition, early resumption of their schooling is paramount. Psychosocial support provided through the Child Friendly Space helps maintain a continuum of family and community-based care and support during and after an emergency and prevents immediate or long-term trauma or mental health conditions.

While rebuilding torn homes, there is an immediate need to reconstruct lives of the affected through psychosocial support– more so the children, who are most vulnerable and who have lasting impressions, especially when children and their families are forced to move out of their homes and children are extremely vulnerable.

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