Play in the early years of life has a profound and long-lasting impact on a childs health, well-being, and long-term development. Studies have shown that early play experiences improve a childs physical growth, their capacity for learning, chances of finishing school, future employability, and even personal income. However, factors such as poverty, war, displacement, child labour, abuse and exploitation can severely limit a childs opportunity for play.
In the past 10 years, we have we have built over 370 playgrounds in primary schools, Early Childhood Development centres, refugee settlements and community settings in East Africa. Over 560,000 children have been provided with a safe place to play, heal, learn and develop. We have become the leading play-based NGO in Ugandas refugee settlements, where we have so far supported over 250,000 refugee children through play.
The schools where we have installed playgrounds and implemented our Educational Play programme, have benefitted from incredible results ranging from higher levels of enrolment and attendance to drastic improvements on childrens wellbeing and happiness.
Supporting Disadvantaged Children in the UK
This Summer we are bringing our experience of and passion for play to support children in the UK who have been negatively affected by the pandemic restrictions. The focus of this campaign is to launch our play-based programmes in the UK for children at risk of social exclusion who have been impacted by the pandemic.
We recognise that many disadvantaged children have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic with children living in poverty having fewer opportunities to play safely. Indeed, recent research identified the extra costs involved in having children at home for longer without access to vital free services, requiring increased spending on food, heating, and occupying children indoors. Over a third of low-income families with children increased their spending during 2020. For many children in vulnerable families, the pandemic restrictions have impacted every part of their life including nutrition, education and play which has had an adverse effect on their physical and mental wellbeing.
We are bringing our expertise and experience of working with profoundly disadvantaged children in Africa to shape our work to support children in the UK.
#SummerOfPlay is a campaign to give children the space, time, and freedom to play this summer as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased. The campaign is backed by major organisations such as Play England, Save the Children, The LEGO Foundation, NSPCC, Play Scotland, Play Wales, etc.