Civil War in Syria made thousands of people leave their homes and seek for shelter in neighboring states as, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Irag. Kilis, Turkey, is also one of these locations, with two container camps which host 35 000 Syrians and near 40 000 displaced Syrians found shelters in the Kilis city center .For this reason IBC started its activity in Kilis to help Syrian people who lost their homes and fled at the result of arm clashes.
The most vulnerable victims of any armed conflict are women and children. Children are the ones to whom the help should be delivered in first place. In this case mental health and child protection of the children is as much important as his physical health.
After researching the psychological state of Syrian children in Kilis, affected by the situation in Syria, it became apparent that their mental well-being had degreed, and they need support to recover and to build their personality. This inspired IBC to launch a project of Child Friendly Spaces in Kilis, Turkey.
Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) are widely used in emergencies as a first response to children’s needs and an entry point for working with affected communities. IBC, had an experience on this field during the Iran, BAM earthquake and also in Somalia. CFSs can be established quickly and respond to children’s rights to protection, psychosocial well being, and non formal education, CFSs are typically used as temporary supports that contribute to the care and protection of children in emergencies. However, they are used also as transitional structures that serve as a bridge to early recovery and long term supports for vulnerable children.
The locations were chosen according to international standards with the help of specially invited experts from different countries. The CFS tents are located in most populated areas where Syrians live. The places were suggested by Kilis Municipality and approved by invited foreign experts.
The tents are situated in the places safe and secure for children, but easily reachable for families to bring their children to the session.
Each CFS’s staff includes 2 Team Leaders, 5 animators and one cleaner in charge. The spaces have 24 hours security. All tent’s staffs are Syrians. All the staff signed the Code of Conduct.
The staff was hired on the interview basis among 180 applicants by the competent Screening Committee. During the selection process, the priority was given to the candidates who had previously worked with children and has experience in the similar field. Before starting, professional team was invited to train the staff during 1 month. Also the staff was trained in first aid as well. Besides, team leaders and animators are provided by the on-going support through the weekly meetings with management, where they can share emerging concerns and find solutions to them.
3 CFS, established by IBC on the territory of Kilis, started their activity on 1st of March, 2013. The Project is supposed to last till the February 2014.
Total number of children attending CFS is above 500. During the registration the priority is given to the children in the age between 5 and 12 year old, who for some reasons are not able to attend normal school and do not have access to the formal education.
Working 5 days in a week, each CFS has capability of hosting 80 children per day (2 groups of 40 children).
Each session lasts for 4 hours. During sessions snacks are offered to children such as fruits, cakes and natural juices.
As mentioned above, CFS is a type of non-formal education, aimed to provide mental and psychological support to the children that became victims of emergency situation through community organized, structured activities conducted in a safe, child friendly, and stimulating environment. The activities in IBC, Kilis tents include playing games with children, dance, drawing, development of basic literacy in Arabic and English, numeracy skills, physical culture, some verses of Quran etc.
Our aim is to help children to play, socialize, learn, and express themselves because it is their right to enjoy their childhood.
Syrian communities and parents in Kilis are highly satisfied with the project and during a meeting with children parents noticed that, they can observe significant changes in the behaviors of children and their psychology, this positive changes also well affect the parents psycologogy.