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How playgrounds can change the lives of Syrian refugee children

A playground to re-position children at the centre of post-emergency relief! #Play4Relief

Photo of Riccardo Luca Conti
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA This project will see the production of a playground aimed at Syrian refugee children in Bar Elias, Lebanon; a region which is now hosting a huge population within informal tented settlements. Following the crisis in Syria, over 1.1 million refugees have fled to Lebanon; where the UNHCR predicts that, of these, over 600,000 are children. Despite some international efforts to deliver shelter, food and medication, there is still not enough done to tackle the psychological traumas that these children have experienced. We believe that a playground has the power to heal and help these children cope. We see the playground as a space of fun, education and relaxation; a space where it will be possible to catalyse long-lasting physical and educational activities in order to deal with the psychological traumas that these children have experienced. The pilot will be implemented in August 2015 in one of the four school that our local partner Kayany ( has built in December 2014. The future playgrounds will be built in the remaining three schools.


The first pilot project will cover around 1500 Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon (Bar Elias, Bekaa Valley).


In March 2015 we have run participatory exercises with the future beneficiaries of the project (Syrian refugee children and teachers) to understand the impact and the vision of the playground for their point of view.


The ideas has changed a lot throughout all the different phases we have completed so far. For example the participatory exercises affected the design in terms of spatial configuration and it also defined the playground elements to be inserted in the playground structure. The two local partners (AUB University and Kayany Foundation) that are working with us on the project were also essential in the shaping of the project idea and design.

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We are aiming to raise awareness and funds through our indiegogo fundraising campaign for the first pilot project: We are also looking for new possibilities of implementing this project in other areas and for funds to implement three other playground after the realisation of the pilot project in August 2015.


We are CatalyticAction, a not-for-profit design studio that works internationally; intervening with projects that catalyse change in society. We are currently working in Lebanon, Kenya and Jordan. We are partnering in Lebanon with AUB University and Kayany Foundation. More at


  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.

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Photo of Tom Gill


Great concept and Idea you guys have. I'm from the NGO East African Playgrounds and we also have a concept here on openideo (check out .

In Uganda we have built 76 playgrounds, have a building team of 30 and have over 150 designs for playground equipment that we build (all with instruction guides). We would be happy to help on your idea and project any way that we can. Just drop me an email at

Photo of Riccardo Luca Conti

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your message! What you are doing in Uganda is amazing, well done. It was also very fascinating to see how many values we share with our work. I will send you an email to see how we can collaborate!

Riccardo Luca Conti

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