Visiting the Artashat Child Friendly Space
Communications Officer conducts a field visit to a Child Friendly Space, within the ECHO Project in Armenia.
This is the second of three articles, where Mie Bertelsen, Action Against Hunger’s Communications Officer, describes her experiences from a field visit to the Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) in Armenia. These are a part of the Multi-Functional Centres, under the programme “Ensuring access to essential protection services for displaced people from Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia” funded by EU Humanitarian Aid and implemented by Action Against Hunger, HALO Trust, Partnership & Teaching and Mission Armenia. To see the first article, click here.
I visited the CFS in Artashat run by Mission Armenia on the 30th May 2022, which hosts approximately 200 children, including some with physical, mental and learning disabilities. This centre primarily hosts families from the Nagorno-Karabakh region. When the families arrived in Artashat, they were in search of a place that could assist them in caring for the special needs of their children. Now they have found a safe space and a community where they can share their experiences and get support.
A CFS worker with the youngest children, working on various games and interactive activities taregting memory and emotional recognition.
All parents experienced that their children went from being reluctant to engage in the CFS activities and separated from their parents, to asking to come to the CFS daily. Some parents sate that the children are more engaged in the learning at the CFS than in school, where there is limited of support for the children with special needs. As with the Shengavit CFS, the children are divided based on their ages, and participate in individual and groups sessions, activities, and specialised support. The older kids are also offered vocational counselling, where they can explore their future possibilities.
Above: One of the younger children practices his multiplication skills, whilst (below) the older kids in the next room prepare to participate in a Kahoot! about world events, which they have learnt through the nonformal educaiton at the centre.Parents are offered services, both group and individual, related to positive parenting, explosive ordnance risk education, and capacity building to support the needs of their children. The information and skills the children and their parents have received here has made an impact on both their home and school lives. Several parents have been told that teachers are noticing an improvement in the children’s behavioural, social and learning abilities.
Two of the younger girls, playing together, whose laughter could be heard throughout the CFS.
To read about 6-year-old Hovik and his family, and the support they have received from the SFS, as well as more pictures from the visit, have a look at our Facebook page.