Topic: “Children Learn As They Play”
Program: Media and Democracy
Today we have Madam Fakhra Najib with us, she has a vast experience in children’s education and as an educationist, she has developed and implemented some innovative approaches especially regarding children’s education especially displaced. She will discuss them with us and on this note let’s start the program.
Host: The learning process for children initiates once they start play unfortunately not every child has this luxury of play your take?
Fakhra: Yes” you are right childhood is the time when a child’s personality is being developed. The first 1000 days i.e. 0-2 years and early grades as well are significant. The reason being children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive domains are being developed. Grownups should try to alter the environment so that their children’s personalities flourish. Diet, nurturing techniques, the atmosphere at home, and even the neighborhood environment aids kids’ personality to shape.
Host: Alright, we have Ayesha in our studio as well. Ayesha has visited Afghan refugee camps quite a few times. Ayesha can you tell us a bit about refugee kids and the time they are spending there.
Ayesha: My first experience was a little unpleasant, Refugee camp in Haripur is quite restricted. I found the experience bit troublesome.
Host: What do you mean, what did you encounter there?
Ayesha: Well, I observed and later reported how kids were playing. They were violent in fact quite violent in their play. Slapping each other and throwing punches around was normal for them. I noticed they were bullying each other therefore I found it disturbing.
Host: How important are playing fields and play areas are whenever the population is settling somewhere be it in a congested area or otherwise.
Fakhra: As I have mentioned earlier environment and atmosphere are crucial in the personality development of a child. I myself had visited a refugee camp, the reason Ayesha observed it was because those kids are in their survival mode. They think that they living in camps temporarily despite the reality. The situation worsens due to Covid because these refugees had to move a lot as one family alone could not afford the rent. We think that food and shelter are enough but when it comes to children it’s not. Sports play and an appropriate environment is a necessity as well. The refugee camps are filled with dirt, pipes are broken down and the area is hilly with all these scenarios children are more prone to accidents. At this tender age, play should be about music and sharing.
Host: Before I go back to Ayesha Dr. Khalid Mufti is with us, our question to him is what are the factors that impact the child’s early development and how much sports are important for them?
Dr. Mufti: It is extremely important but unfortunately we rarely see that those facilities or the environment are available in any of the camps. Kids grow up in miserable conditions and due to this their physical condition suffers so is their mental health which ultimately results in their violent behavior. kids become hyperactive and they indulge themselves in street fights, smoking, and drug addiction. They not only harm themselves but become problems for society as well.
Host: Sir usually government and NGOs focus on macro issues such as hunger etc but to which extent do you think they are sensitive to children’s issues?
Dr. Mufti: The biggest international aid is UNICEF, it is an NGO and institution at the same time. There are multiple NGOs that are on board with UNICEF and they are doing remarkable work. As their work is also monitored therefore they get grants from UNICEF as well. Sadly most NGOs don’t get grants because their work is inefficient, the solution is to provide master training to the NGOs.
Host: Oh it’s that important!
Dr. Mufti: yes it is! NGOs should take children out to the parks and playing fields. I still remember post 9/11 when Afghan refugees came to Peshawar these NGOs both national and international used to take children out on the bus to the parks and buy toys for them as well.
Host: Ayesha as Dr. Sahab mentioned that these kids are affected by their environment, playing activities, and the way they have been brought up. Did you get the chance to talk to their parents about their kid’s behavior at home?
Ayesha: Yes I spoke to the parents, and they mentioned some barriers for example language. They can communicate well within their camp vicinity but the moment they go outside the camps they fail to communicate eventually they have to play within the camp area and sadly there are no spaces available to them.
Host: Madam as a result of the Afghan war almost 30 million people were displaced, and hefty amounts were poured through national and international sources. My question is do you think foreign donors and agencies are sensitive toward kids’ issues?
Fakhra: I feel that when crises strike such as war or something these entities become extremely active, they even build play spaces but once the severity lessens there is no play area or sports facility available for them. even the school facility is limited. Children have a lot of energy within and through play they consume it but for these refugee kids that is not the case. Due to corona schools being closed therefore the need for play areas was even more to release the stress.
Host: Ayesha did you notice any educational facility where children were playing and learning?
Ayesha: I visited camp along with Madam Fakhra, she was able to identify one safe play area, we observed that children were playing, they were coloring and sharing things and we found it very positive.
Fakhra: In addition to that while visiting it simply dawn upon me that the distance learning program which we are already doing through radio could be extremely beneficial for them. Parents are quite eager that their kids get an education therefore we found 2 volunteers a mother and a daughter. We told them that a radio set will be provided to them and a basic orientation will be given to them, they only have to play the program for one hour each morning. We started it from one home and now we have 2 centers. Our program is making them learn through play so that they develop emotionally, socially, and physically.
Host: Ayesha is there any other institution, NGO, or internal community who have managed to take a similar initiative.
Ayesha: Unfortunately no I have never come across something similar to this.
Host: Madam can you please tell us how did children reacted to this program, were they as excited as their parents?
Fakhra: Children were over the moon. Music is a necessity for children especially if they were dealing with trauma. Storytelling, artwork, action rhymes and the sound game creates a corporate learning environment that helps children to grow.
Host: Thank you so much to all of our panelists. listeners’ play is very important for children, kids who do not get the chance to play themselves fail to express themselves, and their personalities do not develop. Today we talked about children, tomorrow we will come up with coming up new topic until then AH
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