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First interactive playground launched in Azraq Refugee Camp

By JT - May 23,2022 - Last updated at May 23,2022

Mercy Corps on Monday launched the first interactive playground in Azraq Refugees Camp with UNICEF support (Photo courtesy of Mercy Corps)

AMMAN — Mercy Corps on Monday launched the first interactive playground in Azraq Refugees Camp, with UNICEF support, as part of their ongoing efforts to support children with disabilities and ensure their inclusion in education.

The event was attended by representatives from UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorate (SRAD), Mercy Corps Jordan, and other NGOs working in Azraq Camp, according to a Mercy Corps statement.

The interactive playground is a novel idea designed and built by Mercy Corps and volunteers, responding to the need of children living in Azraq camp Village 5 to play, learn, discover and engage through accessing a space that offers a unique experience, the statement said.

“What makes this playground unique is that it is the first of its kind in Jordan, created purely from scrap materials at a cost close to zero. And that it ensures access to all children including those with disabilities,” read the statement. 

In his welcoming remarks, Darius Radicliffe, Mercy Corps Jordan Country Director, said: “This inclusive interactive playground is a signature achievement that proves ability to make something of value from minimal resources.”

The playground stations and equipment were all created in the Azraq camp adaptation workshop. The workshop, which is supported by UNICEF, is run by Syrian volunteers under the supervision of Mercy Corps technical staff. It applies advanced problem-solving skills and the creative use of scrap materials, and leadership to provide tools, equipment and smart solutions for children including those with disabilities, according to the statement. 

In his speech, Seraj Hassouneh, representative of the Directorate of Education/Zarqa II, emphasised the significance of supporting children with disabilities and getting them to a point where they can depend on themselves and face the future. He praised the efforts of UNICEF and Mercy Corps in completing this important achievement for children in Azraq camp.

UNICEF Jordan Representative Tanya Chapuisat said: ‘This playground provides a vital space for children to interact and learn through play, an opportunity that children missed out on during the pandemic. That this space has been built by the community, through the work of Syrian volunteers, and using recycled materials is particularly inspiring.”

Chapuisat also thanked the government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the US Government for their support and ongoing commitment to UNICEF’s Inclusive Education Programme in Azraq.

When presenting the playground, Maisa Asmar, MC Inclusive Education Program Manager said: “The team, including the Syrian volunteers, create value every day through implementing design thinking principles to come up with solutions that respond to true needs of the population.”

This interactive playground was created to offer experiential learning to children who have never left the camp before. For instance, children may learn animal and fruit names and types by playing games, as well as how to transform kinetic energy into electricity, the statement said.

Mercy Corps has been supporting inclusive education for children with disabilities since 2008. “Our holistic approach provides Jordanian and Syrian children with disabilities with personalised support, trains and builds the capacity of teachers to identify children with disabilities and provide them with the needed support,” the statement said. 

The programme ensures access to equitable learning opportunities and works with parents and community members to raise the awareness of disability and the right of children with disabilities to education. 

 

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