A place to play: pooled funds support space for displaced children

Children play sports at Malaaz's child friendly space. Photo: UNICEF

Chad and Sudan | 2023 | CERF and CBPF

Chad, Farchana camp. Before war broke out, Malaaz lived in El Geneina. “I could eat whenever I wanted, and I could eat the food I like. I can’t do that here,” she explains.

Since war broke out in April 2023, 8.1 million people have been displaced from their homes. Their lives disrupted, children like Malaaz are traumatized, whether they have crossed an international border or are internally displaced.

Child-friendly spaces in Chad

About half a million people fled to Chad – among them, Malaaz and her family.

When hostilities broke out, CERF supported UN agencies in providing life-saving humanitarian action in Sudan and the neighbouring countries. This included a US $14 million allocation to Chad to help Sudanese refugees.

In Farchana camp, Malaaz stays with her grandmother and aunt. Here, she and her friends have access to a child-friendly space that UNICEF established with CERF funding.

“We have games in this place,” she says. “Every morning from 8 to 11 we come here.” The space is open to different age groups at different times in the day. “We can model with clay, and we draw,” explains Malaaz.

The children play sports, too. “We play volleyball and soccer,” says Malaaz. “I’m a great volleyball player – better than the UNICEF man who is in charge of the space. Every time he comes, he plays with us. But he is not that good a player,” she laughs.

The child-friendly space is a reprieve and critical for children’s mental health following the traumatic events they experienced. Here, children can also access specialist psychological support if they need it, and there are activities for teenagers and parents.

Child counselling in Blue Nile

Within Sudan, schools remain closed, and many children are on the move, displaced from home and traumatized. Pooled funds are also helping children access psychosocial support.

For example, in Blue Nile, the Sudan Humanitarian Fund enabled NGO LM International to provide displaced children affected by the violence with water and sanitation assistance, education, psychosocial support and counselling, as well as group activities.

October 2023

Adapted from original stories from UNICEF and LM International.

For more information on the CERF allocation,  and allocation data on the CERF Data Hub.