Play Brings Healing in Times of 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.

CPI in Kenya

CPI worked in a school 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 ChildsPlay International a sustainable event.
We organized story circles, which gave children 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.

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 Jalozi Camp for displaced persons, a tent community of 150,000+ near the Khyber Pass.
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.

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