Following the success of the IBTASEM playground, several NGOs based in Lebanon contacted us to provide safe play spaces for the vulnerable communities they were working with. One of these NGOs was Jusoor, who worked in collaboration with us on the FURSA playground.
The FURSA playground was built for the children of the Jusoor Jeb Janine School, an educational facility set up for Syrian refugee children. Like the IBTASEM playground, it was constructed in an existing school. This approach, of combining existing educational facilities and safe play spaces, has proved successful in improving the learning experience of students. Teachers have found that with a new playground to expend their energy before class, students’ attention is vastly improved. The playground also provides a space for outdoor teaching activities which use sport and physical exercises to engage the children. As a safe place where children can come together to play, it also creates a space for learning social values such as collaboration and mutual respect.
Throughout the development of FURSA playground, we sought to involve the community of Jeb Janine. The playground was thus developed using local building technologies as well as components that were fabricated by local businesses. These included a welder, tailor, carpenter and a general labourer. As the school is envisioned to remain open after the Syrian crisis subsides, we chose to work with metal – a more durable material.
The playground was made up of scattered play items, each hosting a different activity such as swings or climbing frames. These were bounded by two shaded playhouses that were connected up with colourful shade sails. Spanning the length of the playground, these shade sails were fabricated by a local tailor who learnt to make them specifically for this project. By working within existing infrastructure, and incorporating local expertise to build this playground, we were thus able to co-produce a project that reflected the needs of the community.
Project Update April 2019:
Unfortunately, only memories last forever! Due to misuse of the playground structures, and a lack of playground maintenance, many of FURSA’s play items are now only partially usable. Nevertheless, we recently heard from Jusoor that they are in the process of reviving it. We are keeping in close communication with them to work on the maintenance of this project.