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.
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