Play is NOT a luxury.
While food, water and shelter are essential, so is a childhood, complete with education and opportunities to actively engage with other children.
There are areas of the world today where children are not able to experience the benefits of play, this is the problem that we must tackle. We use the power of play to educate and empower children to be guardians of their own health and active participants in their communities.
The programs of Right to Play create positive experiences and teach important life skills that encourage behavior change. At the core of every activity is our Reflect-Connect-Apply approach, which encourages children to examine their experiences, relate those experiences to what they already know and apply that learning to their daily lives. This strategy helps children adopt and maintain lifelong healthy behaviours and attitudes.
Through play, kids learn to accept and respect each other and to settle their disagreements with words.
One billion children in our world live in conflict affected areas. In volatile areas, our programs encourage all children, regardless of the ethnic, cultural or historical divides they’ve inherited, to come together on neutral grounds and play.
A game of Protector Dodgeball is not about hitting the opponent, it’s about protecting your team. A game of Volley Tennis is less about scoring points than it is about the communication it takes to keep the ball in the air and get it over the net. After a game is over, our Coaches get the players talking about the importance of strong leadership and communications skills. This gets them thinking about how the skills they’ve learned can be used to make their communities better.
For many children, conflict has not only torn them from their homes, but has made new neighbours of old enemies. Bringing kids together to play, whether on a football field or in a classroom, is an opportunity to foster the friendships and understanding that lasting peace is built upon.
“What I think the children need, to realize peace here in South Sudan, is to have play in common.” – James, Right To Play Coach, South Sudan.
The above article first published on righttoplay.com.