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(MANILA, 13 December 2012) — Child-focused relief organization, World Vision kicks-off its Child Friendly Space (CFS) in New Bataan, Compostela Valley to complement ongoing relief distributions a week after Pablo hit the Southern Philippines. 2,000 affected children are expected to participate in Child Friendly Space in Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur in Mindanao.

“Children are the most vulnerable when disasters strike. There is a need to address children’s needs especially during emergencies to bring back normalcy in their lives.” said World Vision Executive Director Elnora Avarientos.

World Vision‘s child friendly spaces are used to give children a safe place to play and express their feelings. The five-day psychosocial activity helps children recover from the devastating effects of disasters through games, music, arts and values formation. Children will receive kits with crayons, pencils, a drawing book and art paper for their creative activities.

“Children experience the pain of losing loved ones after the storm. They are also at risk of getting sick while staying in cramped evacuation centers with no power and water. Child-friendly spaces aim to help children cope from these challenges.” said Yheleen Veso, World Vision Child Friendly Space Team Leader for Compostela Valley.

Child friendly spaces provide learning opportunities for children while their schooling is interrupted. For parents, the child-friendly spaces are safe places to leave their children while they work on restoring their households and communities. Child protection concerns are also addressed by setting up help desks together with social welfare and police authorities.

“We are deeply concerned on the rising number of children who are begging in the streets. We are working with local authorities to ensure that protection of children from abuse and exploitation is given due diligence.” Avarientos added.

“Child-friendly spaces serve as mechanism to promote children’s rights and welfare. We inform parents and children on how to stay safe in evacuation centers through awareness campaigns and by linking them to authorities to curb cases of abuse and exploitation in disaster-hit area,” said Honey Joy Sampiano, Child Protection and Development Specialist in Mindanao.

World Vision makes sure the community can participate in the child friendly spaces by offering local daycare workers a chance to volunteer during the activities. Mary Viajante a community daycare worker who lost her home to the storm shares, “Aside from the relief assistance, I appreciate World Vision’s efforts to listen to our feelings and help us take care of our children’s welfare.”

World Vision also seeks to establish women and infant spaces for lactating mothers in evacuation centers. “Breastfeeding should be encouraged during emergencies to avoid getting water-borne diseases from bottles washed with contaminated water,” said Marijo Gomez, World Vision Health and Nutrition Specialist.

The Child Friendly Space program is a partnership with Unicef and local government. Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Dinky Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development is also expected to grace the event launch.

Currently, World Vision has initially served around 2,500 families in New Bataan, Compostela Valley; providing them with food and non-food relief assistance. In Agusan del Sur, around 2000 families now have access to safe and clean drinking water after receiving PUR water packets as part of the relief efforts during the first week of the Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) Emergency Response.###

Other contact persons:

Minnie Portales +639175342165 Public Engagement Director, World Vision Philippines
Bebeth Tiu +639178179911 Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director, World Vision Philippines
GJeff Lamigo +639175848212 Media and Communications Manager, World Vision Philippines

In Mindanao:

Joy Mariscal +639177223911, Associate Director for Mindanao, World Vision Philippines
Reynor Imperial +639175428829 Emergency Response Officer, World Vision Philippines
Beth Delgado +639177239241, Response Manager for Mindanao, World Vision Philippines

Spokespersons — Compostela Valley Team:

Aaron Aspi +639065865443, Emergency Communications Specialist, World Vision Philippines
Arlo Ramos +639287531858, Health and Nutrition Specialist for Mindanao, World Vision Philippines
Crislyn Felisilda +639278895546, Field Communications Specialist for Mindanao, World Vision Philippines

Spokespersons – Agusan del Sur Team:

Franklyn Salindatu +639993170783, Program Officer, ADP Agusan del Sur, World Vision Philippines
Maryann Zamora +639478916511, Field Communications Specialist for Visayas, World Vision Philippines
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World Vision in the Philippines, which started with orphanage ministries in 1957 initially helping 500 homeless children, now assists about 100,000 children in 49 Area Development Programs (ADPs)  through its child-focused and community-driven programs.  With strong partnership from various agencies and government institutions, World Vision in the Philippines reach out to different areas in the country addressing not only the most basic needs of children but also focusing on children’s well-being i.e. education, good health, protection of their rights and love for God and others.

It also implements  sectoral projects such as the reduction of  tuberculosis  through mobilization of community volunteers (Global Fund-assisted),  reduction of child labor incidence in the sugar plantations across the country (USDol-funded), lowering of  maternal and child deaths in 6 poor provinces with high malnutrition rates (Child Health Now), various  initiatives to improve quality of education among primary student (TAP/corporate- engagements),  community-based savings program, livelihood and development programs to enable families and communities to be self-sustaining, localization of child protection advocacies and the promotion of community resilience through integration of disaster risk reduction and management (DRR) in development programming.

For more information you may log onto http://www.worldvision.org.ph or call hotline (02) 372-7777.

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