A New, Fully Inclusive Playground for Syrian Refugee Children
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Children with and without disabilities play happily together at the new, inclusive playground in Jordan's Za'atari Refugee Camp. The swing, merry-go-round, seesaw and play structure are all wheelchair-accessible, and the sandpit, trampoline and beanbag are specially designed for children with autism.
"The playground is beautiful," says 9-year-old Amal, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. "I like the merry-go-round. It spins me around but it's not scary. The one I like most is the seesaw. I went up!"
Created and implemented by UNICEF partner Mercy Corps, Za'atari's new playground is the first of its kind in Jordan and one of the first at a refugee camp anywhere in the world. It will serve as a prototype for future play facilities in schools and community settings in Jordan and globally.
An estimated 30 percent of Syrian refugees in Jordan have specific physical or intellectual needs. "Our work with the Government of Jordan to build a more inclusive and accessible education system has resulted in over 4,000 children with disabilities enrolling in public schools in host communities and refugee camps since 2012," said UNICEF Jordan Representative Robert Jenkins. "The opening of this inclusive playground provides even greater optimism for a future where all children can fully participate in learning and play."
"When they did up the playground, they made it more beautiful," said 10-year-old Tasneem. "We played with all the other girls. They were happy. If they use a wheelchair, we played with them too."
"This is the first time I came here," added 9-year-old Ala'a. "I love this playground so much."
Top photo: Amal, 9, (right) and friends play on the seesaw in the new, fully inclusive playground at their school in Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Opened by UNICEF and partner Mercy Corps in June, the playground is the first of its kind in Jordan and one of the first in a refugee camp anywhere in the world. © UNICEF/UN0251346/Herwig