A Place to Play
the crowded neighborhoods of the Sabra-Shatilla Refuge Camp, space is always at
a premium. Housing conditions are cramped and there is very little room to
spare. Children have nowhere to play outside except the streets, or, if they’re
lucky, asphalt covered space in a school. The Joint Christian Committee for
Social Services in Lebanon (JCC) saw this need and set about meeting it by
providing a safe, grassy, outdoor playground for their kindergarten children
and other users of the JCC Sabra center.
once there was a dilapidated old building there now exists an open,
light-filled space with robust play equipment. Here the children can run around
and throw a ball without fear of being hit by a car or a scooter and without
having to retrieve their ball from a filthy gutter or under a car. Instead of
garbage under their feet there is grass.
playground has space for games and brand-new equipment for the children to
enjoy. This not only allows for a fun time, but will give excellent
opportunities for the children to increase their hand-eye coordination, balance
and general fitness. Such a space also gives the kindergarten teachers a chance
to organize team games outdoors for the first time.
this dream to reality has been a true team effort. Generous donations from
BibleLands, the United Churches of Christ (UCC) in the USA and Right to Play
have been key in this amazing transformation. Volunteers from the JCC center in
Dbayeh spent several long days clearing the ground of rubble and cement before
laying topsoil to prepare the ground for grass. The director of the agricultural
program in Tyre gave advice and assistance with the planting, care and
maintenance of the beautiful new lawn and current students have ensured that it
is kept watered throughout Beirut’s long, hot summer.
is proud of this safe play initiative knowing it will add to the development of
the children in the centers by giving new opportunities to play safely outdoors
and discover the natural world.
project was supported by One Great Hour of Sharing, the United Church of Christ
and Global Ministries.