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The power of play

19 November 2019, Voices from the Field

No fear when you’re having fun

Wherever they are in the world, millions of children pretend they’re superheroes, jumping from the furniture and wishing they could fly. Some are in the safety of their homes in a suburban enclave in a city much like yours or mine. Others are caught up in a crisis, playing and laughing despite the stress of living in temporary camps. Whatever their circumstances, children from Sydney to Syria need safety to play which helps them learn and have fun in some of their most formative years. 

Early childhood in a refugee camp

Twenty-eight-year-old Zahra* has four children. The two eldest were born in Syria, and the two youngest were born as refugees in Jordan. Bilal*, aged 12, and Maram*, who is 8, were born in Syria, are “quieter” she says, an understandable reaction to being ripped from their home, and making a new life in the Za’atari refugee camp. Unlike their older siblings, five-year-old Faisal, and eighteen-month-old Suha are boisterous little children, who get into mischief around the house.

Zahra first enrolled Maram in a Save the Children early learning centre, where she’s slowly seen her become more like her old self. “She became more social and it became easier for her to interact with others.”

Letting kids be kids

After seeing the change in Maram, she enrolled five-year-old Faisal as well. He was three-and-a-half when he first started attending the early learning centre where he learned to talk. He’s now had three terms in the centres so far, where he paints, climbs, runs, writes and draws. “He has become very active and social. Faisal has always been a hyper child and he has become even more energetic after getting enrolled,” says Zahra. 

Non-stop Faisal 

Energetic and bubbly, Faisal is clearly thriving both at home and at the early learning centre he attends weekly. His enthusiasm for learning and playing is infectious. “I paint! I paint everything! Especially bears. I paint at home and in class. I use pencils and my fingers [finger painting].” 

Soon too, Faisal’s ready to fly. “If I could fly, I would fly to the mall. I’d go, buy toys and get trousers and a shirt. All for me!”

Thanks to your support of Save the Children’s early learning centres, Faisal is able to play at flying and superheroes like so many of his peers around the world. He’s learning and growing and like his peers, he’ll successfully transition to primary school when he’s ready.
Photo: Jordi Matas/Save the Children
*Name has been changed 

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