SIM partners in the Middle East are involved in providing child friendly spaces for displaced Iraqi families and Syrian refugees. The children of these families are living either in camps or in crowded, rented accommodation where there is little opportunity for them to play and begin to process the loss and trauma they have experienced. Managed by believers, the child friendly spaces offer the children an opportunity to recover and develop by providing educational, recreational and psychosocial support activities.
Children at the Child Friendly Spaces were invited to contribute to the 2017 Lausanne Forum on ‘Children at Risk’. They were asked to draw a picture in response to the question "What do you need to grow up well and be happy?" Many of them drew pictures of a home with a garden. One child wrote, "Í wish for safety. I would love to go back to our home and live with my family there. I have learned that God is love and that we can love one another." Another wrote, "Í want to go back with all the other people to our village. I love the teachers in our centre here and I wish to have a centre like it there and to have the same teachers in it. I wish for peace. I wish to have a garden so we can play in it."
The training of the staff, themselves either refugee or displaced, has impacted their lives too. After learning about the five love languages of children, Zara, a believer from Muslim background, was asked by her neighbours why her family life had changed. She was able to share from the training and the unconditional love she has come to know through Jesus.
for the children attending the child friendly spaces as they process all that they have experineced
that the children and staff will come to know and love Jesus through the example of believers
that the children attending the child friendly spaces would quickly pick up the skills they need to settle into their host community