In November 2018, Cyclone Gaja caused huge devastation in Tamil Nadu, specifically impacting the coastal districts of Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Trichy and Dindigul. While over a thousand families lost their houses in the aftermath of this cyclone, extensive damage was also caused to schools, anganwadis and community halls. ActionAid Association was on the ground immediately following the cyclone, providing relief materials to the most vulnerable families.
Subsequent to distributing immediate relief and with long-term recovery in mind, focus shifted to the rehabilitation of affected communities. Working with Social Need Education and Human Awareness (SNEHA), schools in 10 worst-affected villages of Nagapattinam district were chosen to start Child Activity and Learning Centres (CALCs), with support from LIC Housing Finance Ltd. These centres are aimed at providing children the space and opportunity for supportive education and recreation and to bring out their potential. Besides, several programmes were organized for the capacity-building of teachers on varied subjects. Along with inputs on teaching and learning, the repair of school infrastructure was undertaken, including the fixing of roofs, floors, walls, rest rooms and water-tanks.
In Jammu & Kashmir, since 2017, Jammu and Kashmir Association of Social Workers (JKASW), Humanity Welfare Organization (HWO) and ActionAid Association’s Jammu & Kashmir Field Office have been running Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) with support from UNICEF. We have run 100 CFSs in villages across Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama and Anantnag districts, thereby supporting more than 18,000 children. This initiative aims at ensuring community-based protection of children and promoting children’s participation in their family and community settings. These CFSs provide a safe environment to children where they participate in a variety of activities including sports, craft, drawing, painting, debates and other capacity development programmes. In addition, these safe spaces act as a platform to identify community children in need of special care and protection, and provide them the required support and referral services.
Furthermore, with support from DXC Technology, Colgate Palmolive and Adobe Foundation, we are running similar centres for children and adolescents’ holistic development in Mumbai, Maharashtra; Baddi, Himachal Pradesh; and Noida, Delhi-National Capital Region.
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