CPI’s first event in Pakistan was held in the now-closed Jalozai Refugee Camp.
We created a mini-Olympics in Jalozai Camp for displaced persons, a tent community of 150,000+ near the Khyber Pass.
Our motivation was to help children uprooted by regional violence by reintroducing play, creative activity, and the chance for positive communication. Storytelling, painting, traditional song and dance, sports, and fun games were on the agenda for a whole week.
The children were so excited to earn their first-ever prices for their activities.
The children’s artwork was sewn into an enormous quilt to great pride and joy for the whole camp.
Participating children became more communicative; as their self-esteem rose, mentors and coaches were encouraged to reproduce the activities.
Children who saw videos of the events spontaneously reproduced them, becoming leaders themselves. The communal quilt became a popular photo backdrop and a source of pride. We left behind art supplies, sports gear, clothing, shoes and a cricket field.
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 sport outfits hugely increased their self-esteem.
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.
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