462 million children in our world live in conflict-affected areas. In volatile areas, our programs encourage all children–regardless of the ethnic, cultural or historical divides they've inherited–to come together on neutral grounds and play.
A game of Protector Dodgeball is not about hitting the opponent–it's about protecting your team.
A game of Volley Tennis is less about scoring points than it is about the communication it takes to keep the ball in the air and get it over the net.
After a game is over, our Coaches get the players talking about the importance of strong leadership and communications skills. This gets them thinking about how the skills they've learned can be used to make their communities better.
For many children, conflict has not only torn them from their homes, but has made new neighbours of old enemies. Bringing kids together to play–whether on a football field or in a classroom–is an opportunity to foster the friendships and understanding that lasting peace is built upon.
Fares family fled his hometown in Syria to find refuge in Baalbek, Lebanon. But the sounds of the bombs and the shootings and the violence he witnessed back home stayed with the eight-year-old long after his family reached safety. Fares had severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
He couldn’t sleep and he stopped communicating with others. The extreme anxiety was overwhelming for the little boy and he isolated himself, making it “difficult to and keep up with his classmates at school,” says his teacher.
Soon, Fares stopped going to school. Sweating, shaking and a racing heartbeat took over his performance, personality and social life. His mother took Farez to several doctors, but nothing helped the little boy.
On a rare day when Fares felt confident enough to attend school, his teacher—a newly-trained Right To Play educator—introduced one of our educational games to his class. Fares was captivated. The fun, learning activities filled his mind with happy memories from his years in Syria, before the war. Interacting in an inclusive, accepting and safe environment also helped to calm his nerves and socialize with the other children in his class.
Since that day, Fares has attended school regularly. He looks forward to going and eagerly participates in Right To Play lessons. Amazingly, his panic attacks have decreased, while his concentration increased and he has made several friends with whom he plays and studies.
“I cannot express how happy I am to see my child transforming this much,” says Fares’ mother.