Longing for a brighter and more peaceful futurePublished: Jan 13, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of 2020 has dramatically affected the lives of children in the region. Children from Nagorno-Karabakh have been forced to leave their childhood memories and leap into the unknown․ For them, the choice to flee was hard to understand, compared to adults who consciously realised the danger they were confronted with.
To mitigate the consequences of conflict and help these children smile again, People in Need established Child-Friendly Spaces in the frontier community of Goris, where children receive psychosocial support through various activities.
As a part of our documentary series called “This is us, our life in Armenia”, we filmed daily life at the Child-Friendly Spaces to showcase how six to fourteen-year-olds resumed their lives after the war.
Lora, who lives in Goris, works as psychologist at the Child-Friendly Spaces. When the war broke out, she voluntarily visited displaced people living in shelters and tried her best to help them overcome stress and express their emotions freely. Lora’s experience led to the idea of establishing dedicated local Child-Friendly Spaces to ensure long-term support to children and their parents. There are now seven such spaces in the Goris, Verishen, Khndzoresk, Qarahunj, Vorotan and Shurnukh communities in the Syunik region, where more than 420 children spend time with their peers. These spaces were established by People in Need and are currently operating thanks to EU humanitarian aid funds received within the ‘REACT։ Relief and Early Recovery for People Affected by Conflict in Armenia՛ project.
Fun and knowledge are both inherently important in organising the work of the Child-Friendly Spaces. Children experience all-embracing activities to fill their days with interest and explore the world from different angles. Activities include group games, creative work, painting and pottery, embroidery and hook-weaving, STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] classes, yoga and gymnastics, camping, visits to museums and theatres, and sightseeing. In addition, parents also benefit from them. They receive psychosocial support, capacity building opportunities, develop their parenting skills and socialise. Another opportunity offered by the Child-Friendly Spaces is the continuous on-the-job training provided to mentors. This enables them to enrich their knowledge and skills while dealing with children and teaching them through up-to-date methods.
Childhood memories are the sweetest and the most rewarding ‘drops’ of the past that last forever. PIN-established Child-Friendly Spaces can be an excellent complement to these children’s lives by filling the gaps caused by the war with delightful and kind recollections.