Hands Up Foundation is now Action Syria

Playgrounds for Children

“My friends and I do not have toys… I dream of swinging on swings.” This is what Doaa, age 10, told us earlier this year. Many of you will have children in your lives. The idea of them never having the opportunity to play on a swing or go down a slide (often forcing you to go with them!) is inconceivable.  

But this is the experience of many children in northern Syria. Those under the age of 13 have never known their country in peacetime. As well as the trauma of ongoing conflict, they have also lived through the devastating earthquakes which struck the Turkish Syrian border in February 2023. As part of our earthquake response, we asked some of the affected children what they needed most.

Their answer was “a place to play.” Until now, they have had no safe place in which to play and simply be children. It is yet another part of their childhood which they have been denied.

The importance of play cannot be overstated. Research shows children process traumatic experiences by playing, leaving them vulnerable if they do not have anywhere to do this.

This is why we have been working with our partner, Physicians Across Continents (PAC), to build two playgrounds in Aleppo and Idlib – two areas severely affected by the earthquakes and home to many thousands already displaced by conflict.

Doaa is just one of the children now enjoying our playgrounds. She lives in one of the camps near the Idlib playground and told us that before it was built, she and her friends would “spend our time playing with stones and dirt.”

Now, she says “I am very happy because we can play with toys whenever we want.”¬†The smile on her face speaks a million words.

Thank you for helping us provide a place for Doaa and her friends to play Рwithout your support none of this would have been possible.

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