Bouday Child Friendly Space

Bouday Child Friendly Space (CFS) is a project we conducted in partnership with War Child Holland and LOST NGO as part of the Time To Be a Child (TTBAC) and Can’t Wait To Learn (CWTL) projects. A CFS may be defined as a ‘safe place where children can come together to play, relax, express themselves, feel supported and learn skills to deal with the challenges they face’ (Save the Children, 2018). The Bouday CFS project sought to realize this by rehabilitating an existing building and transforming it into an innovative space for children.

As in the BASMA playground, our strategy for this project focused on working with existing infrastructure, an approach which has proved successful for creating social cohesion between host and refugee communities. By improving existing infrastructure, as opposed to building new temporary facilities, it both addresses the infrastructural issues generated by a high influx of Syrian refugees, as well as contributing to local development for the host population. The strategy is thus more successful both socially and financially. As infrastructure is not being built solely for the refugee population, it also prevents creating segregational dynamics.

Before we carried out the intervention, the indoor spaces – initially set up as garages – were being used for storage. The outdoor spaces were mostly used as a car park, making it unsafe for children to use, learn or play in. The rehabilitation of these areas on the other hand, created a CFS where children could learn and play, contributing to both improved resilience and mental health.

The indoor CFS was designed to be adaptable, joyful, functional and stimulating. This design was informed by extensive research on the type of psychosocial activities that could be run in such a space. It thus provided a direct response to the practical needs of vulnerable children, as well as suggesting potential ways design could be used to optimise existing psychosocial programs.

The outdoor CFS was designed as a playground which would allow for physical, educational, relaxing and imaginative activities. The space included active games such as climbing and jumping, role-play games such as playhouse and exploration spaces. The types of spaces that CatlayticAction included in this playground were informed by previous projects building playgrounds for children who have experienced trauma such as war and displacement. The ideas for these playgrounds had come from participatory assessments with children and teachers.

In line with our values, this project was implemented with the local community. The construction process took four weeks to complete and it was carried out by a team of 26 local women and men, 8 national and international volunteers together with our team.

Project ID

Year: 2018
Location: Boudai, Lebanon
Size: 100 m2 indoor space + 370 m2 playground
Partners: War Child Holland, LOST
Funding: War Child Holland, LOST
Volunteers: Vanessa Chemaly, Roxy Bugler, Stephanie Abou-Chakra, Gabriella Condo’, Yasmina Yehia, Alessandra Bertini, Patrick Wundke
Primary users: 125 children


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We empower communities through design