Solomon Islands children, parents and teachers have benefited from World Vision’s Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) program established following flash flooding in Honiara and Guadalcanal plains on April 3.
The Child Friendly Space project, set up by World Vision Solomon Islands following the floods, has transformed the lives of children and touched the hearts of parents and guardians.
More than 760 children from 10 Child Friendly Spaces have healed and recovered from the emotional and psychological effects of the disaster.
Six year old Lisa, use to attend the Mercy Kindergarten School which is some few kilometers away from her house but since the flood, she was not able to attend school. Fortunately for her, World Vision assisted her community and set up a Child Friendly Space which she is currently attending.
“I love going to school because I have lots of friends and I learn new things every day,” Lisa said.
Since attending the Child Friendly Space, Lisa has advocated to her parents and neighbors on proper hand washing and hygiene.
“Lisa enjoys going to school and always shares what she learns everyday with us and also to her other siblings,” said Maesua, Lisa’s mum.
The Child Friendly Space program is providing a structured and safe place where children and youth could meet to play, learn competencies to deal with risks they face, be involved in educational activities and relax.
Parents also benefitted, as the spaces provided them the opportunity to resume work and rebuild their lives, knowing their children were being looked after in a safe and fun environment.
Mr. Michael Bolisonia, from Metapona Community who is an Elder and Anglican Church leader to more than 300 people from four communities, says the CFS program has been a blessing for the communities.
“We are the most fortunate communities amongst other communities in Guadalcanal Province, we benefit a lot from World Vision from all the gifts and the child friendly spaces and women friendly spaces programs that are currently implemented in our community,” he said.
The nearest early childhood school, is located a few kilometers away from Metapona Community and children have to walk almost 1 hour to reach the school which is too risky for the smaller children to walk every morning to school and back in the afternoon.
The CFS program, has given the parents of Metapona community the motivation and desire to continue to provide quality early childhood learning opportunities close to home. They are now planning to transform the CFS into a permanent Early Childhood Education class using the learning materials and resources the community received from the CFS program.
“My plan is to organise my community so that we could build a semi-permanent classroom for our future ECE class,” said Mr. Bolisonia.
As part of the project, World Vision provided training to 20 teachers, covering Child Protection, Psychological First Aid and Child Friendly Spaces.
World Vision is liasing with the CFS communities to merge with longer term Early Childhood Education activities to be able to continue on with the ECE activities.
World Vision worked in partnership with the Guadalcanal Province Education Authority to implement the six month project. The project is funded by New Zealand Aid and World Vision New Zealand.