Children have the right to be children – to play and to dream. This is understood so universally that Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child requires all ratifying countries to:
“Recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure,
Engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and …
Participate freely in cultural life and the arts”
About 4 million people live in Lebanon. 1.5 million are Syrian refugees, including 53% children. Only 15% of them go to school. Because of the war most of them are highly traumatized. They grow up in a very uncertain environment, some of them are separated from their parents and do not have very good future prospects.
The International Social Service aims to provide protection and support for these children. Therefore the ISS initiated the “Safe parks” project in Lebanon – a project which has already been successfully implemented in partnership with FICE International several years ago in South Africa. FICE International together with the ISS realized project Safe parks for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, as a result of which a group of refugee children received professional support, attention and a chance to feel children again.
“Safe Parks” pursue two main objectives:
•To provide psycho-social support to Syrian refugee children, who are in an extreme life situation
•To offer them activities and mobile playgrounds in a safe setting.
. Safe Parks provide exactly this – safe places for children to play where they have access to adult supervision and can play in peace and safety. The key ingredient for the success of the model is the nurturing and exciting presence of child and youth care workers! Children like to play where adults are! They also like to play with adults, and get involved in structured activities. The Safe Park model offers the possibility of wholesome fun in the context of desperate lives – an essential ingredient for overcoming hardship.