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Letter: From hope springs visions of a better future

'Every single child around the world needs to see that grownups can do better than this'
N-Israel-Palestine Q&A 28.22 PHOTO SUBMITTED
A playground in Gaza, funded by Whistler-based charity Playground Builders, which was destroyed in 2021.

Playground Builders has its roots in the Palestinian Territories. The very idea that by building playgrounds for children we could sow the seeds of hope for a better future was born in the first play areas in the West Bank.

From hope springs visions of a better future, and that is all we have ever wanted for the children and parents who visit these playgrounds. As a very small community-based charity, we have always been mindful of the history and polarity of the communities in which we facilitate the building of playgrounds. These are, after all, spaces of joy for children.

Playgrounds make no comment on politics or civil strife. They just exist to allow children to be children. They exist to provide parents a place to congregate and observe their children connecting with other children. They exist to fill dusty voids with children’s laughter. We place them in places for which hope is often in scarce supply. We built them in Gaza for these reasons, and when the timing is right, we plan to rebuild any of them that were lost in this conflict.

So of course our hearts are broken by the sheer scale of the suffering of these same children. By expressing that pain, we condone no other horrible act. By expressing our sorrow, we seek to see the suffering stop. We cannot offer more than another voice saying, simply, please stop the war. Find another path. Let the displaced Palestinians begin to rebuild a life. We can be better than this. Every single child around the world needs to see that grownups can do better than this.

Keith Reynolds // The Olive Branch Playground Builders Foundation