FH Creates Safety for Filipino Children After Typhoon

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Food for the Hungry (FH) is opening 15 Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) and starting Cash-for-Work programs for keeping families together.

Trained volunteer interacts with young girl as she colors in one of Food for the Hungry's Child Friendly Spaces

Our entire focus right now is on keeping families together

As the Philippines rebuilds after the typhoon’s devastation, one of the primary concerns is the safety of thousands of children – both with families and those orphaned. Food for the Hungry (FH) is opening 15 Child Friendly Spaces(CFS) and starting Cash-for-Work programs for keeping families together.

Child Friendly Spaces have been tested in real world crises and provide places for children to gather and play while their parents focus on rebuilding. The spaces cater to specific age groups and allow for assessment from FH trained counselors that identify children who are orphaned or abandoned. FH staff then refer them to UNICEF to participate in their family reunification program as well as identify children who may require psychosocial care from a trained counselor.

As was seen in Haiti, Indonesia and disasters around the world, children are in significant peril dealing with the extreme trauma and psychosocial struggles from losing their homes, schools, family members and everything that they held dear. They also are exposed to the threat of criminals willing to abduct these children into slavery, illegal adoption and the sex trade.

FH is opening 15 CFS in the region of Basey and Marabut, two of the most devastated communities. “Our entire focus right now is on keeping families together,” said Beth Allen, FH staff. “That is why we are starting a Cash-for-Work program as well, so the families aren’t separated trying to seek work elsewhere. At the same time, we can get the devastation cleared and give the families a chance to get back on their feet.”

In addition to the Child Friendly Spaces, FH will help to stimulate economic recovery and reduce public health risks of targeted barangays through a Cash for Work program to facilitate community clean up of waste, debris and rubble from collapsed homes, buildings and other infrastructure, and fallen trees. The focus of the debris cleanup will be on salvaging materials from homes and clearing debris that is not dangerous to remove manually. The ultimate purpose of this work is to prepare for reconstruction and/or set up of transitional living. FH will also explore with the barangay members possible creative productive uses for the debris.

FH will hire 600 laborers between December and February and will pay them the Philippine Government set rate of $6.50 per/day.

FH has extensive experience in providing training and establishing Child Friendly Spaces, including in locations such as Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon and post-earthquake Haiti.

Founded in 1971, Food for the Hungry provides emergency relief and long-term development programs in more than 20 countries to help the world's most vulnerable people. Learn more by visiting http://www.fh.org. Social connections include facebook.com/foodforthehungry and twitter.com/food4thehungry.

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Megan Rose
Food for the Hungry
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