The Kindergarten, a place for children to find relief

Leaving your own birth land behind while facing a long and dangerous journey to escape from wars and poverty is not an easy experience. If even for an adult this can be traumatic, you can just imagine how can this affect a little child.  It’s in this context where the Kindergarten project of OCC aims to operate, as a safe space where families with a refugee background can find relief and guarantee proper emotional and socio-educational growth for their younger members. Children now can engage in various activities under the supervision of properly trained volunteers, whose training was delivered by the professional educators of Refugee Trauma Initiative

Photo: Open Cultural Center.

Opened in April 2019, the space is also named Baytna – the Arabic word for “Our Home” -, as a new home is what it aims to become for these children left without one, along with their caregivers. To achieve this goal, OCC proposes a schedule whose activities are thought to stimulate at 360° the development of its little guests. A fundamental role is played by art, drawing, crafting, and painting implemented as tools to express and boost creativity, although without forgetting moments for relaxation, physical activity, and meditation.

Photo: Open Cultural Center.

With the facility closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, the volunteers haven’t cut the connection with families, carried through remote ways. One example is the storytelling project, based on the weekly sending of stories with educational content in English, Arabic, and Farsi, and soon available also in audiobook format. The same attitude for creative writing leads to the publishing of the educational book “Magical Traffic Light”, a tale about street code and security, while it’s on the way the redaction of a second, with the provisional title of “Nousha’s Dream”, the story of a young dancer fighting against gender stereotypes.