Since November 2015, global climate fluctuations, known as the El Niño phenomenon, has brought heavy rains and hail storms to Paraguay, causing rivers to swell. As a result, Paraguay has experienced the worst flooding in 50 years.
Approximately 60,000 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters in the capital of Paraguay, Asunción. This includes thousands of children.
Our research has shown that child protection in the temporary shelters is inadequate; many children are experiencing exploitation, violence, abuse and neglect.
Furthermore, our experience of working in emergencies has shown the importance of child protection and emotional support in the long-term development of children.
Spaces of Joy
As a result, Plan International is committed to supporting children who have been relocated to temporary shelters in Asunción, and helping them access their right to protection.
I tell the children that the tent is like a drop of hope for them to come and forget what is going on and find a fantasy world, something magical.
We are establishing child-friendly, safe spaces in 2 temporary shelters in Asunción, where children aged 0-7 can access learning materials, psychological support and educational and recreational activities.
These ‘Spaces of Joy’ are part of a project called Añua, translating to ‘hug’ in the Guarani language.
Additionally, children are provided with safe water and a nutritional snack 5 days a week.
Drop of Hope
Diana, a Plan International ‘Spaces of Joy’ facilitator said, “I tell the children that the tent is like a drop of hope for them to come and forget what is going on and find a fantasy world, something magical. We will try to achieve that every day.”
Lorena, 7, who lives with her mother, father and 2 sisters in a temporary shelter with 14 other families, participates in the activities in our ‘Spaces of Joy’.
Her favourite activities are singing, studying and making flowers out of clay.
Denis, 6, says he likes being at our child-friendly spaces because “There’s no fighting, no arguing, no fighting with my brothers. It’s just peaceful.”