All children have a right to play! Some of us were lucky enough to grow up in rich natural environments full of opportunities for exploration, discovery, and free play. These experiences helped to shape us as people and gave us a strong connection with the natural world around us. Today there are lots of kids growing up without those same opportunities to play.
Earthplay has been creating Play Environments that connect kids with nature for the past 15 years. With invitation and support of the non-profit organization Community in Action (Comunidade em Ação), we are hoping to develop two Natural Playscape projects in one of the most impoverished areas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The favela community known as Complexo do Alemão is home to some 150,000 inhabitants within 2.5 square miles. The average income is about $250 USD per month and the infant mortality rate is 5x that of other parts of the city. The area lacks basic infrastructure, including safe places for kids to play!
Both of these projects will be constructed on the site of two well established and respected neighborhood NGOs. These organizations will support the playscape build through sourcing local materials, partnering with local artists and craftspeople, and recruiting community volunteers! They will also serve as the long term caretakers of these play-spaces for the community.
Verdejar has been in operation for 17 years, with the mission of preserving and restoring the last area of undeveloped forest in the Northern Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The Forest Playscape project there will serve as an entry point, to connect the local children and community members with this amazing wild space.
The Casarão da Cultura is a Cultural Center in a historic building that is dedicated to education and enrichment of the local community. They offer classes in arts, music, and movement, as well as a computer lab, library and community radio station. The Garden Playscape project there will serve as a safe place for young children to play, to connect with nature, and develop pride in themselves and the place they live!
With your donation, you can touch the lives of thousands of kids by helping to creatw proved a safe place for the children of this under-served neighborhood to play, to learn, to thrive, and to develop a lasting relationship with the natural world around them.