Our Work > Child Friendly Spaces

Ensuring Community based protection and participation of children where he/she can be intervened in his/her own community and family settings in Kashmir. The project aims to provide children with protected environments in the form of child friendly spaces where they participate in organized activities to play, socialize, learn and express themselves. The main objective of the Project is enhancing the understanding and engagement of parents and community leaders towards child rights and enabling Child friendly Spaces in Kashmir. Also the project aims at creating a low cost sustainable model that can be replicated across the globe.

BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT:

  1. Prolonged conflict and conflict hit life.
  2. Children as victims of conflict.
  3. Increasing trend of shutdown and curfews - closure of schools and disruption of normal activities.
  4. Lack of opportunities to play and learn and socialize with friends – have normalized psycho-social functioning of children.

Consequently:

  1. Children face mental trauma, stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.
  2. Also there is lack of encouraging community environment, thereby children are at the risk of dropping out of schools and falling prey to other psycho-social problems.

PROPOSED INTERVENTION:

Objectives :

  1. Ensuring wellbeing and protection of children from difficult situations through CFSs in 100 villages of Kashmir.
  2. Enhance the understanding and engagement of parents and community leaders towards child rights and enabling spaces for children.
  3. To create informal case management systems and referral pathways to statutory child protection and welfare services, legal, medical aid etc.

Creation of Child Friendly Spaces in the Intervention Areas:

Since the identification and the village profiling were done in every intervention area, the establishment of the CFS centres was done. The main aim behind the creation of Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) was to engage with children and provide opportunities for playing and learning in their own communities. In fact the main idea behind the project was to build a platform to bring their childhood back through play, games, art and craft, share their experiences and talk to their friends within their own vicinities or habitats.

Main Objectives:

1. Ensuring wellbeing and protection of children from difficult situations through CFSs in 100 villages of Kashmir.
2. Enhance the understanding and engagement of parents and community leaders towards child rights and enabling spaces for children.
3. To create informal case management systems and referral pathways to statutory child protection and welfare services, legal, medical aid etc.

 

In order to create such opportunities for children proper criteria and the possible intervention was done.Proper recruitment policies were followed in recruiting the Community animators within the same communities. Also the proper guidelines were followed ensuring safety and protection of children in order to find a place for the establishment of CFS within the communities and following points were taken into consideration while selecting a place for establishment of CFS.

  • The room to be selected should be located at a calm and peaceful area within the community not lying close to the busy roads or highways.
  • The house should be properly fenced in case there is no proper compound walling.
  • There should be proper toilet and washroom facilities with water availability.
  • There should be a proper playground available just close to the room.
  • Rooms should be located nearby the schools.
  • Dimensions should be taken into consideration while selecting the room keeping in view the ratio of children to be engaged with the CFS.
  • More of all rooms should be present in the ground floors in order to make it disable friendly.
  • Rooms should be proper ventilated. Etc.

School Intervention through School CFS:

School intervention being an important component in the project, the intervention was initiated in the school premises of the said areas as well. The proposed intervention was implemented through not only the Child Friendly Spaces but children in schools were considered as a part of the project through school based activities in form of weekly engagement with school children, like drawing, craft drawings, paintings, play for peace, talks etc, thereby benefitting a huge number of children in all.

Our school interventions started with few activities like warm up exercises, awareness among children about the Child friendly Spaces. School authorities cooperated in the move due to which school CFS is a success almost in every village.


Figure 2 School based CFS at one of the school

Formation of Child Friendly Space Village Committee (CFSVC):

Some eminent and influential person from the community like village heads, Head Masters, Tehsildars, Gram Sevaks ,religious preachers ad even local youth were taken into the confidence and thus formed a CFSVC committee of around five to ten members. Cluster coordinator along with community animators and volunteers sensitised them regarding the CFS Project and CFS centres to be established in the community. All the rules responsibilities were made clear to the members. The motive behind forming a village level committee was to build the community trust and to make the work and role of CFS members transparent within the community. All of the members showed the positive response and assured us to help in any possible way for proper functioning.


Figure 2 School based CFS at one of the school

Formation of Child Friendly Space Village Committee (CFSVC):

Some eminent and influential person from the community like village heads, Head Masters, Tehsildars, Gram Sevaks ,religious preachers ad even local youth were taken into the confidence and thus formed a CFSVC committee of around five to ten members. Cluster coordinator along with community animators and volunteers sensitised them regarding the CFS Project and CFS centres to be established in the community. All the rules responsibilities were made clear to the members. The motive behind forming a village level committee was to build the community trust and to make the work and role of CFS members transparent within the community. All of the members showed the positive response and assured us to help in any possible way for proper functioning.


Figure 3 CFS VC members of a community

MAIN ACTIVITIES:

Children (6 to 16)

  1. Fun and learning activities for children like sports and play, arts and crafts.
  2.  Activities providing them spaces for expressing themselves, interacting with others.
  3. Making them aware of their various rights including those of education and protection from various issues.

Children (6-18)

  1. Identifying children in need and providing referral services: rehabilitation of dropouts, child laborers etc. Mental health services and referrals. Legal aid services and referrals. Special health need and referrals etc.

Parents, community leaders and other stakeholders:

  1. Awareness on child rights and child protection.
  2. Continuous involvement through the formation of child welfare committees.
  3. Awareness and involvement of volunteers.
  4. Awareness and involvement of local health, educational, and other social service institutions.


Figure 4 craft activities done by children at cfs centres

SUSTAINABILITY:

  1. Creation of sound and well informed Child welfare committees at the village level.
  2. Community support mechanisms in the form of  enhanced understanding of parents on the issues of children.
  3. Capacitating volunteers who will run these canters in the long run with minimal cost implications that can be borne by the community with their own contribution.
  4. Formulating a low cost model with the community that can be replicated across other locations in Kashmir.

Referral Services:

Referral Services are meant to refer the children identified with any problem or the children in need of care and protection. Referral services are to be provided by the referral coordinators of the concerned district. Referral coordinators act as a catalyst between the children and the services to be provided to the children in need of services.  Thus the role of referral coordinators is:

  • Identification of referral services for children in Kashmir-Medical, Administrative and Legal.
  • Liasoning with important stakeholders in medical, administrative and legal settings.

Services identified so far in district Anantnag and Pulwama are:

  • Primary health centres at block level, District Hospital Anantnag and Pulwama.
    • Special services under the ambit of DEIC.
    • Services of clinical psychologists and counsellors.
  • District Social Welfare Office.
  • ICDS Centres.
  • Various welfare schemes and programmes running in the districts.
  • Child line India Foundation (1098).
  • Legal Aid Services.
  • Disability Service providing Organizations.etc.

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