It may surprise people but did you know that children have the right to play? According to Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): “. . . every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”
The UNCRC Handbook of 2007 explains that playing is potentially “the most interesting (of the group of concepts) in terms of childhood in that it includes activities of children which are not controlled by adults.”
Mindful of the importance of playing, Palestinian author and mother Susan Abulhawa founded “Playgrounds for Palestine” in 2001. See video for more: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5623218548148045383#
Each of the playgrounds originally cost this organization approximately $13,000 to build and ship. Costs have been significantly cut by manufacturing playgrounds in Palestine, a plan that also helps to support the Palestinian economy. With the new arrangement, each playground now costs between $5,000-6,000.
The first playground was shipped to Bethlehem in November 2002 and installed in January 2003. Since then, more than a dozen playgrounds have been installed in the West Bank, Gaza, and refugee camps in Lebanon. To read more about the playgrounds and their locations, please see: http://www.playgroundsforpalestine.org/our-playgrounds.php?ID=1
With the installation of each new playground comes the children’s shouts of joy. Their smiling faces say it all.