[Menu]  [dDH]

Archive file

Children's Centre/Kid Space

Pakrac November 24, 1996

The idea for Kid Space grew from the success of the Puppet Theatre sub-project. Like the puppet theatre which began in Pakrac in November 1995, Kid Space is a non-threatening approach to reintegration and reconciliation. In particular, it seeks to address the reintegration of Serb children into the local school system. Following the military action in May 1995, children from both sides of the town began attending the same schools in Pakrac. After four years of living in essentially separate communities, the reintegration process has been slow and difficult and remains so. In addition to this, with the exception of formalised activities such as daily school attendance, no extra curricular activities were available to children from either side of the formerly divided town. Kid Space is one of the initiatives developed to address this problem and facilitate the recovery of the war traumatised communities. Volunteers have been able to work with the children of both communities, see their needs, wants and great ability to learn and embrace new ideas and options.
Time spent with these children has also led to a realisation that the effects of armed conflict, nationalism and discrimination sometimes fall hardest on the children who are the witnesses of such destruction. With the absence of a neutral and safe social meeting place and the fast approaching winter, Kid Space would provide a non- threatening environment for socialisation and relaxation. It offers children an opportunity to develop communicative and cooperative skills and to build self-confidence and esteem in a non-threatening environment open to all.

An alternative space

Kid Space would cater for children from the ages of 6 to 12. It is envisioned that it could act as a meeting place where children could spend their free time and enjoy both structured activities and leisure time. Kid Space would also be the venue for games, workshops and special days. Volunteers would provide supervision while engaging the children to help take responsibility for their space. Together volunteers, parents and children would work to coordinate both the activities and free time within the centre. It is hoped that the responsibility given to the children will lead to a development in self-confidence and awareness and also allow them to learn new skills.


In the future, we would expand Kid Space by establishing an art program, a library and a youth club.
Children who are interested in pursuing artistic outlets of expression have few options in Pakrac. In order to help provide them an avenue for expression and development, we plan to start an art program. Various mediums would be offered: dance, drawing and painting, singing, sculpture, music lessons, literary discussion groups and a writing forum.
The library facilitates in Pakrac are also unsatisfactory for children and we hope to fill that void by establishing our own. The Kid Space library would be aimed specifically at the children and contain books ranging from children's stories and novels to nonfiction educational works on the sciences, history, etc. Through this we encourage the children to explore and develop their interests on their own intitiative. In addition, we plan to offer special courses on a wide variety of topics based on the children's suggestion in order to provide another way for them to pursue interests outside school.
Finally, we would like to re-open the youth club which opened in 1994 and closed this fall. Since 1995, the project was run exclusively by a pair of teenagers and supervised by a teacher. It closed this fall because they lost a space to house the project. Being a popular and important gathering place for young Pakracani, we would like to help the youth club re-open.

Through working with the children and allowing them to take personal control of their surroundings, it is hoped that they will begin the slow process of recovery and readjustment. The volunteers will be dealing with a variety of issues such as socialisation, recovery and normalisation. In addition, they will be depended on to aid in the development of self-esteem and confidence building within the children while ensuring a stress-free environment away from the pressures of homelife and parents.

For Kid Space

Anna Sypniewska and Ivica Jalcova

[Menu] [dDH]