Design studio creates playground for Syrian refugee children

Providing a safe area for play in order to try and help Syrian refugee children recover from the trauma of conflict is a project initiated by not-for-profit design studio CatalyticAction.

The London-based firm is looking to establish a playground in one of four schools near the Lebanese town of Bar Elias where families fleeing the war zone have found sanctuary.

Speaking to DesignMENA,  Riccardo Conti, the London-based practice’s 25-year-old executive director said:  “Providing a sense of normality for children who have suffered in such a way is vital.”


“We visited the area in March and spoke to the children themselves in order to find out what it is they need. “Priorities were an open flat space for games such as football, more intimate spaces as they like to play in small groups and some facilities for educational activities were what they said was needed.

“But most important was to create somewhere these boys and girls could feel safe.”

The project is being run in co-ordination with a local non-governmental educational organisation called Kayany. CatalyticAction’s design team looked for recyclable materials to construct the facility which is designed so that it can be dismantled and moved to another location. The area is home to four schools and the play area is expected to cope with 1,500 children of all ages.

Its central area will provide space for team games while other spaces will have slides, wall bars and a seesaw. Shaded gathering points are also part of the project and a tactile wall – embedded with seashells – and a weather station are also on the agenda.

Learning through play is another vital part of the project with the team saying it wants to “impact positive change to the personal and psychological development of the children”.


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