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Saving Childhood With a Repurposed Ambulance, An Underground Playground, and Big Blue Blocks


Green Lifestyle  (tags: 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', africa, children, conflict, war, violence, world, society, humanrights, HumanRights, freedoms, ethics, middle-east, children, ethics )

JL
- 2291 days ago - kaboom.org
All children deserve a childhood. But when faced with external circumstances like illness, war, natural disaster, or extreme poverty, some children risk missing out on the simple joys of running, laughing, discovering, and creating



   

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JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 2:42 pm
*************Video also at the site.********

Saving childhood with a repurposed ambulance, an underground playground, and big blue blocks

Posted by Kerala Taylor on March 5, 2013

All children deserve a childhood. But when faced with external circumstances like illness, war, natural disaster, or extreme poverty, some children risk missing out on the simple joys of running, laughing, discovering, and creating.

As our CEO and Founder Darell Hammond recently pointed out in the World Economic Forum blog: “For a child whose life has been turned upside down, play is absolutely essential for maintaining a sense of stability amid turmoil and helping to work through emotional trauma. This is because play is simple, familiar and joyful – all the things that adversity is not.”

The right to play is universal. Here are three innovative initiatives that are bringing play to children most in need:

In Deir Ezzor, Syria, citizens have set up an underground school and play area to help children cope with the stark realities of war. Before the school opened, 12-year-old Sultan Mussa told the Al Arabiya News, “I spent the whole day closed up at home because my parents were afraid of the bombing and wouldn’t let me go out.” Says principal Beda al-Hassan, “This isn't the sort of life children should have.”

The school holds classes in the evening, when it is less dangerous for children to venture outside, and though its students are unable to play outdoors, they can use the toys, ping pong table, and chess boards to reclaim their childhoods. Ten-year-old Sidra likes coming to school “because I can play here. My house was bombed and I lost all my toys.” The principal’s five-year-old son Qutaiba says, “I can't wait for school to end and for play time to begin.”

In Blantyre, Malawi, a hospital is harnessing the healing power of play by offering its patients an ambulance-turned-playground. The ambulance, repurposed by a pair of Dutch designers, sports a slide, swing, monkey bars, clubhouse area, and fireman’s pole. It is handicap-accessible so that the hospital’s wheelchair-bound patients can play alongside other patients and children from the neighborhood.



Photos via Sakaramenta.

Lastly, the P.L.A.Y. initiative, a pilot program created by UNICEF and supported by our national partner Disney, brings our portable Imagination Playground units to children living in disaster-recovery conditions and extreme poverty. Recently launched in Haiti and Bangladesh, the initiative helps kids living in challenging circumstances to reconnect with their childhood, and return a sense of normalcy to their daily lives. See Imagination Playground in action:

Whether in the United States, Syria or Haiti, kids intuitively understand the importance of play. We just need to make sure that we’re giving them the time and space to be kids.
 

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 4:23 pm

Though it is heart breaking to think about children having to "sneak" to school, worse yet, underground school, at this article suggests that some adults are noticing and making efforts. Children of war do not grow up to be children of peace, at least not very often.
 

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 4:24 pm

*** at least this article....* typo - or just not well edited
 

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 4:27 pm
All too true Kit.You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.
 

Terry V (30)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 4:55 pm
"time and space to be kid" wouldn't that be PERFECT?!?!
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
 

SĂĽheyla C (234)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 5:35 pm
Thank you
 

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 5:45 pm
I agree Terry. Thanks for posting the link to the great video!
You are welcome Suheyla.
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last day.
 

Angelika R (143)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 9:10 pm
This is pretty appealing I think. If the UN is unable to prevent wars it is the least that UNICEF can do. This PLAY initiative is a good measure and these mobile items making an imagination playground are quite welcome to the kids as shown in the video. Thx JL
 

Agnes N (703)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 10:26 pm
Thanks JL
 

Ro H (0)
Monday March 11, 2013, 7:31 am
ty
 

JL A (281)
Monday March 11, 2013, 8:03 am
You are welcome Angelika, Agnes and Ro.
You cannot currently send a star to Angelika because you have done so within the last day.
 

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Monday March 11, 2013, 2:02 pm
The article is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Thank goodness for UNICEF. Now if we could just persuade all of the governments across the globe to agree to put an end to war, the children of the world could have the childhood they all deserve.
 
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