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Russian Federation: Playrooms for Grozny children

Russian Federation: Playrooms for Grozny children

Four playrooms for three-to-six-year-old children of Chechnya opened their doors today in Grozny. They were set up in temporary accommodation facilities by the Russian Red Cross with ICRC support.

Chechnya's internally displaced population have to struggle to make a living. Among the many problems they face is the lack of leisure and educational activities for youngsters. The newly equipped playrooms give hard-working parents an opportunity to leave their children in good, professional care several times a week. Special educational activities will be offered to cultivate the children's talents and prepare the older among them to start school. Individual psychological counselling will be provided if needed. Over 600 children have already been registered to attend the playrooms.

This is not the first time that the Russian Red Cross has organized playrooms for war-affected children. The same was done five years ago in camps for internally displaced Chechens in Ingushetia. When those camps were closed last year, the playrooms were transferred to three temporary accommodation centres in Ingushetia. An emotionally reassuring environment and attention to individual needs serves to foster child development, and Fatima Alieva, the senior counsellor at one of the playrooms in Ingushetia, knows the benefits well. "You look at the rapt faces of children seeing swings for the first time in their lives, and you see them lining up to take turns, and you understand what these playrooms mean."

In the northern Caucasus, the Russian Red Cross remains the ICRC's main operational partner. The ICRC is supporting the Russian Society's organizational development in the region and several of its specific programmes, including home care for elderly people and psychological and legal assistance for the internally displaced.

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