Play Brings Healing in Times of Trauma

Play Brings Healing 

Play brings healing to children suffering from trauma. Trauma takes many forms – pandemics, war, poverty, HIV orphanhood, displacement – and it affects children the most. We can’t rid the world of these conditions, but CPI helps create a place of safety and normalcy through play, allowing respite, resiliency, and joy. 

Read more about The Importance of Play here.

CPI in Kenya

CPI worked in two schools in northern Kenya, where many of the students are orphaned children, mostly due to HIV-AIDS.

Our local partner, Mr. Edward Kabaka, is committed to making CPI a sustainable contributor to vulnerable children’s welfare. We organized storytelling for children which gave them the opportunity to share stories that they learned from elders, as well as more personal stories. We also taught them the technical skills of using a video camera to film their stories and dances. The children gave us beautiful song and dance performances.

Sarwar Mushtaq, who taught the workshop, recalls:

“By the time we had left, they were talking about HIV. They were talking about somebody dying. They were talking about how they lost their friend, and this person and that person. It was about the stuff inside that was just finding a way out. This was an extraordinary development. We were immensely excited and, of course, we left the film-making equipment so they could continue.”

Pakistan: Jalozai Refugee Camp

In 2011, CPI created a mini-Olympics in for displaced persons, a tent community of 150,000+ near the Khyber Pass.

Song and Dance performance in refugee camp.

Our purpose was to help children uprooted by regional violence by reintroducing play, creative activity, and the chance for positive communication. Sports, painting, singing, dancing and storytelling were followed by liberally-bestowed prizes. The children’s artwork was sewn into an enormous quilt. Participating children became more communicative; as their self-esteem rose, mentors and coaches were encouraged to reproduce the activities. The enthusiasm was infectious. Girls actively participated in activities traditionally reserved for boys, and children who did not initially participate ultimately jumped right in. Giving children sports outfits. The final days were especially memorable. Celebrations began with drumming and dancing. As balloons and pigeons rose into the sky, the children lost their inhibitions and became totally joyous.

Girls in refugee camp playing sand volleyball
Girls in Jalozai Refugee Camp playing during a ChildsPlay “Olympics of the Mind and Body”
girl in refugee camp telling a story during storytelling event
Girl in Jalozai refugee camp telling a story during a CPI storytelling event.

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