2011: Come Out and Play My Friends

In 2011 Sahabat Anak’s yearly campaign was “Come out and play, my friend!” This campaign falls under the UN Convention on the Rights of The Child and was chosen as a reflection of the concern we have at Sahabat Anak that there is limited time and physical space for children to play healthy and educative games. This is an issue not only affecting marginalized and street children in Jakarta, but almost all children living in the city area. Time and physical space for a child to play are imperative for a child’s psychological and social development. It is through playing that children learn. They learn social norms, communication skills, creative and abstract thinking, cognitive skills and it helps to build up self-confidence. In a poor urban environment there is a lack of space to play. Many children living in marginalised communities have small houses with no backyards or parks. Therefore they have to play in the streets. It is common to see children flying kites and playing games in the streets of Jakarta. This is not a safe environment, they are usually playing close to traffic and in cramped areas.

Article 31 of the UN Convention on The Rights of the Child:
That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

This theme was used by Sahabat Anak to inspire and teach parents to think more about a child’s right to play. Parents were encouraged not only to provide the space for children to play, but also to provide interesting games.

On February 17, 2011, Sahabat Anak launched the campaign titled “Come out to play, my friends!” (Bermainlah, Sahabatku!) to advocate for a child’s right to play.  The target was that by July 2011, there will be 1,050 children in Jakarta and surrounding areas who would have benefited from this program.

The community was asked to participate by donating toys, funds to support the event and to come out and help distribute the donated toys to the children in the marginalised communities.  The focus was not really on distributing the toys, instead it was used as an opportunity to raise public awareness about children’s rights and that adults and the community should be willing to spend time with children playing fun and educative games.

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