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UNICEF: Child-Friendly Spaces for Quake Survivors
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UNICEF: Child-Friendly Spaces for Quake Survivors

UNICEF and the Chinese government have set up 40 child-friendly centers in the area devastated by the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008. These provide safe, protective environments to help children recover from their traumas through play and creative expression. 

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Produced by UNICEF Television.

Learn more about UNICEF's efforts to create child-friendly spaces in earthquake ravaged regions of China.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
At a resettlement center in one of the hardest-hit areas of Sichuan province, six-year-old Doudou spends her days riding her bicycle, or singing and dancing with other children. For her, it has been a long road toward recovery. She lost both her parents in the quake that struck in May 2008, and now lives under the care of her grandfather.
GRANDFATHER
The earthquake ruined everything that our family owned. At that time Doudou missed her parents very much. She didn't want to eat. When she went to bed at night, she cried for her father and mother.
VOICEOVER
When a special center for children opened near her home, Doudou slowly began to find comfort in songs and games with other children.
GRANDFATHER
With the community's help, conditions have slowly gotten better. Plus, she has learned to attend kindergarten, and plays when we take out the toys.
VOICEOVER
This is one of 40 centers set up across the earthquake zone by UNICEF and the Chinese government, providing safe, protective environments where children can interact and develop through play and creative expression. The effects of last year's quake are still taking a toll on families throughout the region. The "Child-Friendly Space initiative" aims to give children the psychological and emotional support they need to recover from the trauma and also prepare for a new start in life. Parents and teachers say they've noticed a dramatic change in children's behavior over the past year. The manager of a child-friendly space in Feishui township, Tang Xiaoping, says the children's emotional progress can be seen from how their drawings have changed since the aftermath of the quake.
TANG XIAOPING [Feishui Child-Friendly Space]
Our first activity here was to have the children to draw what was in their minds. One boy drew a capsized boat; a girl drew buildings falling and people running in the streets. This year, we again invited children to paint pictures, and now you see colorful balloons and smiling faces.
VOICEOVER
The child-friendly spaces offer not only emotional aid to children, but support adults as well.
HE LIPING [Leigu Township All China Women's Federation]
I lost my own daughter in the earthquake, and I was very sad for the first couple of months. But now I work here and I am with children every day, I feel happier. It is like when I see them, I can see her.
VOICEOVER
A space for songs and smiles -- also a haven for healing.