In the urban sprawl of cities, impoverished villages and refugee camps, there are few public areas that are clean and safe for families to gather and for children to play.
Municipalities in Palestine and Lebanon are short of funds to provide them. More often than not, children end up playing in the streets or trash-filled fields. In 2012, three small children suffocated in a refrigerator while playing in a storage room in a small village near Ramallah. Sadly, this story is not so unusual.
Anera partners with local municipalities and nonprofit organizations to identify areas suitable for parks and playgrounds.
We design these spaces in line with the communities surrounding them, and build them with locally-sourced materials. Whether located at a preschool, a sports field or in an impoverished town, these spaces bring recreation where it’s most needed.
Some Palestinian villages, like Ras Karkar in the West Bank and Musaddar in Gaza, had no public spaces for children before Anera stepped in. Now these communities have brand new, state-of-the-art park and playground facilities that bring joy and safety. These projects have changed the landscape in Palestinian communities, turning vacant, rubble-filled plots of land into beautiful safe havens for families to gather and children to play without fear.
In designing parks and playgrounds, we always make sure to meet the needs of children with disabilities. The playground we built at the Right to Live Society in Gaza is dedicated to children with Down’s Syndrome, and is the only space of its kind in the bomb-ravaged Shejaiya neighborhood. Not only does it bring smiles and laughter to children, but they can develop their cognitive and physical abilities using the equipment.
One of Anera’s most beloved park sites is right in the middle of Nahr El Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon. A combination playground and soccer field, it’s so popular that kids sometimes have to enter in shifts. A maintenance worker takes great care to keep it clean and safe.
How It Works
Consult with the municipality and identify a plot of land in an area that needs recreation space.
Design parks and playgrounds, landscaped with benches and eco-friendly plants and trees.
Hire and oversee the work to construct the park or playground.
Monitor the maintenance and upkeep of the park or playground.