Child Friendly Spaces support asylum-seeking children and their families
Child Friendly Spaces is an operating model that Save the Children and other organizations use around the world to support children affected by different crises and conflicts. Our aim is to give children the opportunity to grow, develop and recover from their past experiences, regardless of the surrounding conditions. Currently, one Child Friendly Space is working with asylum-seeking children in the reception centre in Oulu.
Children and their families living in reception centres may have experienced many hardships and losses in the past, such as leaving behind their homes and loved ones or losing them altogether. Often, the journey to Finland has been long and getting a decision on their asylum application can take a long time. The everyday life of asylum-seeking children and their families is overshadowed by uncertainty and concern about the future. Therefore, living in a reception centre can be mentally demanding in many ways.
With Child Friendly Spaces, it is possible to bring regularity, stability and predictability to the everyday life of asylum-seeking children and their families. A Child Friendly Space is a place where a child is allowed to be a child and do typical children’s activities under adult supervision, such as play games and sports and do arts and crafts. During these activities, children also get an opportunity to meet other children living in the reception centre and develop their social skills. The programme also supports parenting and the interaction between asylum-seeking children and their parents.
Child Friendly Spaces are operated by Save the Children employees together with trained volunteers. The programme is financed by the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA) as well as with private donations. There are Child Friendly Spaces operating in reception centres in Oulu, which are maintained by the Finnish Red Cross and the state, respectively. The programme needs new volunteers. Volunteers must be over 18 years of age. Criminal background checks will be conducted on all volunteers.
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