Plan India creates Child Friendly Spaces to help children meet their needs and maintain a sense of normalcy.
Guwahati, August 21, 2017 – Plan India, a leading child development organisation committed to creating a lasting impact in the lives of vulnerable and excluded children, their families and communities, initiated its humanitarian response with an immediate provision of distributing food and non-food relief items to the worst affected families from Morigaon district, Assam. Plan India decided to intervene in this district as it is one of the most backward districts in Assam, with the majority of its population living below poverty line.
Children’s needs remain a priority for the organisation. Hence, Plan India is now setting up Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) to ensure they have a safe space to play and heal, so they can maintain a sense of normalcy during this difficult time. CFSs will support the immediate needs of 500 children along with ensuring that children do not suffer from abuse and exploitation given the weakening of the community and family safety nets. The CFSs would be operational in 10 villages in Mayong block for next 40 days.
CFSs will provide children accessing the centres with opportunity for recreation, education, and nutrition. Additionally as per Plan India’s rapid assessment, there are 200 children from the affected families who require psychosocial support which will be provided through strategic engagement with counselors and other experts in the district.
Morigaon, in normal circumstances, is prone to child trafficking and child labour; hence the CFSs will act as the hub for awareness and action to mitigate any such efforts. During disasters, it is expected that the number of such instances will rise; therefore there is an urgency to ensure the CFS is started at the earliest and continues to be functional until full normalcy returns in the villages.
Earlier in the month, Plan India, in partnership with Emannuel Health Association (EHA) responded with immediate relief assistance to 1,214 worst affected families in 7 villages of Mayong block. Now, the CFS would be functional in 10 villages (Moorkata, Moorkata- 2 Block, Tetligaun, Hathibhangi, Gorubhandha/Jaljali, Kasosila, Kotogir – 2 Block, and Bonmori).
The incessant rains in Assam since June has left almost 15 districts marooned due to flood waters. The villages on the banks of Brahmaputra are eroded completely due to breach of embankments. In Mayong block, Morigaon district, affected families are staying in temporary sheds on the roadside across the rivers. The villages have more than 80% of population living below poverty lines and are dependent on relief measures provided by the government and NGOs. With lands being submerged, there is a loss of livelihoods while schools have been forced to shut down.
Plan India has responded to similar disasters in the past including the Uttarakhand flash floods (2013), Cyclone Phailin in Odisha (2013), Andhra Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir floods. Plan India was one of the first organisations’ to respond to the cyclone hit areas in coastal region of Andhra Pradesh and Visakhapatnam with relief operation.