Cardboard, boxes, cans and cloth get a second life as playthings for refugee children in Uganda.
by Michele Sibiloni and Adrian Brune
One of the most instinctive activities for a child is play. Whether they have ABC blocks or recycled boxes, children will find some way to make merry.
And play isn’t all pastime as researchers have found. Pervasive negative experiences can render children more vulnerable to developmental problems. Play helps form the foundation of positive encounters that keep a young brain on track, as it has for some of the 35,000 3-to-6-year-olds in the world’s second largest refugee settlement: Bidibidi, northern Uganda.
At Bidibidi, the ideas for play are plentiful, but neither materials, nor money are readily available. With a little ingenuity, however, parents, caregivers, and even children themselves, are handmaking play materials that replicate mass-produced ones – or even inventing new ones. These photos present just a few of the handmade toys being produced with support from UNICEF and the Lego Foundation.
Photos taken at two Early Childhood Development centres in the Bidibidi refugee settlement. As of mid-2018, 60 kits with 15 games each from UNICEF’s standardized play kit had been created for each of four Early Childhood Development Bidibidi centres, reaching nearly 2,500 children.