Elise Johnson

I cherish the memories I have of my childhood, ones of playing without a care in the world. But, in many countries across East Africa, children don't have this freedom. Children spend time out of school looking for work or helping with chores at home, rather than playing. Play, in many of these regions, isn't seen as important, but a waste of time. There are very few facilities available for children, and those that do exist are often unsafe or poor quality. However, what is not understood in these areas, is that play is incredibly important for children’s learning, wellbeing and for healthy brain development. These conclusions have been developed through multiple studies; showing how important play is for the development of children and their long term outcomes, especially those of which are living in poverty. Play has been shown to be beneficial for everything from social skills, cognitive abilities and problem solving to concentration and communication. It has been shown that adding play to a child's life can lead to significantly raise IQs, greater achievement at school and even higher rates of employment and wages in adulthood.

Since the charity was set up in 2009, 200 playgrounds have been installed into communities across Uganda. However, the Charity understands that ensuring children have the right to play is a lot more difficult than this alone. Therefore, in each community a whole series of consultation and training sessions run alongside the playgrounds, creating the impact needed. For example, they train teachers on how to utilise the playground as an educational resource and form a community playground committee who are taught how to maintain the playground, and help its upkeep. The charity makes sure that their work has a sustainable impact and provides maximum benefits for the community.

The impact of this charity within the designated communities can be seen in many ways such as;

83% improvement in behaviour and concentration of children in class
100% of teachers stated a reduction in absenteeism
74% of children said they want to come to school because of the playground
98% of teachers stated an increase in enrolment
85% of children stating they have learnt new skills
96% of community members saw a positive change in the community

In the summer I will be travelling to Uganda and working alongside this amazing charity. I am trying to raise £2500 to finance this trip and support the cause.

Here are some examples of what your support and donations will be going towards:

Regular donation
£5 a month could build a seesaw once a year
£15 a month could fund the resources for the educational play training programme for a year
£30 a month could provide full apprentice training to a young welder for a year

Single donation
£25 could provide a small herd of toy animals for the children to play on
£100 could fund one-month educational play programme
£250 could give the children the best climbing frame they (or you) have ever seen

Elise Johnson