Where children can be children

Safe Play Areas offer oasis of laughter and peace in Kandahar

By Sayed Maroof Hamdard and Murtaza Mohammadi
A boy in Afghan costume on standing on a swing
UNICEF Afghanistan/2016/Afghan
17 November 2016

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The protracted conflict in Afghanistan has taken a toll on the country’s children, especially in southern provinces like Kandahar where continuous insecurity, stress, and the lack of social activities have impacted children’s physical and psychological well-being

Safe Play Areas offer them an oasis of peace and laughter with recreation facilities where children can be children.

A girl in green plays on a swing in a 'safe play area' park in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
UNICEF Afghanistan/2016/Afghan
A girl plays on a swing in a 'safe play area' park in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Since a Safe Play park was built in their neighbourhood, Iqra and her brother come here at least once a week. Besides all the fun, it gives them an opportunity to interact with other children of all ages.

A boy in grey on a slide
UNICEF Afghanistan/2016/Afghan

It is fun and safe for us here. Some of the kids play in the streets which is really dangerous for children at my age in this city. Here we feel safe and we have so much fun. 

Mohammad Shoaib, 11-years-old
Boys playing on swings
UNICEF Afghanistan/2016/Afghan

I like it here. I come with my cousins every Friday. We don’t have anything like this close to our school or home. 

Raihana, 9 years-old (R)

Raihana’s father, a shopkeeper, commutes eight kilometres to bring his family to the park every week.

A man accompanying his son in the safe play area
UNICEF Afghanistan/2016/Afghan

When we have guests at home, my son Homayoun insists that I accompany him and other children to come here.

Mohammad Hashim (R)

Mohammad Hashim, a father of two, works at a private company in Kandahar. As he watches them play in the park, he dreams of building a good future for his children. Zubaida (L), a cousin, has joined them today.

A group of kids on a swing
UNICEF Afghanistan/2016/Afghan