Inclusive playground opens in Za'atari refugee camp

The playground designed for children with and without disabilities to play together.

Claire McKeever
A girl in a wheechair on a seesaw with other girls
20 December 2018

UNICEF has opened the first fully inclusive playground for children with disabilities in Jordan in Za’atari Refugee Camp as part of national efforts to make education inclusive for all children. The playground, which is one of the first of its kind in a refugee camp, has been designed and equipped for children with and without disabilities to play together.

“The one I like the most is the seesaw, I went up! I was very happy. I also used the swing and the slide.” -

Amal, 9 years

The inclusive playground project was designed and implemented locally by UNICEF partner Mercy Corps, using international best practice. It is hoped that the playground will serve as a prototype for future play facilities in schools and community settings in Jordan and globally, in both humanitarian and development contexts. 

In crisis-affected communities, children with disabilities are among the most marginalized, yet they are still at risk of being excluded from humanitarian assistance.

An estimated 30 per cent of Syrian refugees in Jordan have specific physical or intellectual needs. UNICEF Jordan is supported by UK aid, the Government of the Republic of Korea and Australian Aid to make facilities in refugee camps, including schools, toilets and the new playground, more accessible for children with disabilities.

The inclusive playground has been designed to promote social integration for children with and without disabilities in Za’atari and is fully supervised. It includes a swing, merry-go-round, seesaw and play complex accessible to wheelchairs, creative equipment, including a loudspeaker and xylophone, for children with sensory disabilities and a sandpit, trampoline and beanbag especially designed for children with autism.

Children jump on a trampoline with a woman
Alhan El Masri, UNICEF Jordan, plays with children in the new inclusive playground in Za’atari Refugee Camp.

UNICEF has been on the ground in Za’atari Refugee Camp since it opened in 2012, providing WASH, protection, education, health and nutrition, youth and adolescent services and social protection for the over 44,000 children who live there and their families. UNICEF supports over 18,000 children to go to school in Za’atari, including 700 children with disabilities. To ensure children with disabilities can receive a quality education UNICEF has provided ten resource rooms, support teachers, individualized academic support to students, customized equipment in schools and classrooms, and assistive devices including visual and hearing aids.