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Puri/Bhubaneswar, 21 May: Safety and Protective environment for Children is critical during any emergency period. As part of their humanitarian response work in Odisha post Cyclone Fani, Bal Raksha Bharat, a leading child rights organization, set up its first Child-Friendly Learning Spaces (CFLS), today, in Satpada Bhoisai Village of Krishnaprasad Block, Puri district. Approximately 75 families with 408 people are presently living in the Panchayat College of this village.

Speaking at the inauguration of its first CFLS at one of the worst affected districts after Cyclone Fani made a landfall in Odisha, Bidisha Pillai, CEO, Bal Raksha Bharat said, “There is absolute devastation around and everything has been destroyed. It is distressing to see that people have still not been able to move out of the cyclone shelters. To facilitate the adults in the family to pick up again, it is important that the children are well taken care of. We set up our Child Friendly Learning Space in this this village to start with, so that children can continue their informal learning and get some recreational space, especially since anganwadis and schools will take a while to resume. Meanwhile, parents can spend some focused time to build back their homes and lives”.

 The CFLS will help children cope up with the trauma of losing homes and help them access recreation and learning space with their peer group. Since the cyclone hit the area, villagers are camped in a nearby Panchayat college for survival; children have lost all their playing and education materials due to the destruction and have nothing that can keep their minds off the occurrence.

Bal Raksha Bharat plans to open at least five such learning spaces for children in the gram panchayats of Manika, Panaspada, Arakhakuda, Behrampura and Satpada of Puri district, catering to approximately 350 children. It acts

Child-Friendly Spaces (also known as Temporary Respite Care) is a national standard of care in domestic emergency response, to ensure children are safe in shelters, assistance centers and other locations where families congregate during disasters. It is a designated area where children can play, socialize, and begin to recover during emergencies and is focused to protect children from harm and provide a sense of normalcy during disasters. At the same time, it enable parents with time to register for emergency assistance and start to re-establish their lives.

About Bal Raksha Bharat

Bal Raksha Bharat runs programmes to address children’s needs in 11 Indian states and Union Territories. Globally known as Save the Children, the organisation works in 116 countries, Visit www.balrakshabharat.in for more information.

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Soumi Halder                               Geeta Lama                                          
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