Princess Sofia of Sweden, at the time Sofia Hellqvist, and Frida Vesterberg, relying on experience and knowledge from the non-profit sector, felt there was a need to focus on the individual’s development in combination with a holistic perspective about the child and his or her unique personal needs, in order to create a sustainable and long-term change at both individual and system level.
Their vision is a world where every child and youth grows up with a belief in the future and the opportunity to positively impact their own lives. With a holistic approach, they work using educational, recreational and supportive programs to empower vulnerable children and youth. One by one. They aim to create self-reliant individuals who are capable of managing their own lives and therefore contribute to the democratic, financial and equal development of their society. By being part of Project Playground, children gain self-esteem, determination and belief in the future. These three things are key to creating better life conditions and resilience, which results in a ripple effect throughout the whole community.
Project Playground works exclusively with and for the children and youth forced to grow up in the legacy of Apartheid. They are established in areas that are systematically socially and economically deprived and in a society with an absent support system. Many of the children come from broken and abusive families, where they are victims of neglect, various types of abuse, malnutrition and lack positive role models. Due to the circumstances of their environment, many children are deprived of a true childhood. That is why Project Playground intervenes early and works long term with both children and their surroundings to create holistic change on an individual, community and systematic level.
Without adequate teachers, school books or school facilities, children in townships become further disadvantaged. Policy changes are needed to incorporate a more holistic, supportive approach in schools where children have access to psychosocial support but also where teachers and employees have a broad understanding of Children’s Rights and are able to uphold and be guided by a bespoke Child Protection Policy adapted to that specific school. This will equip and protect both school personnel and the students and contribute to a broader, deeper and more sustainable protective environment for children.
Project Playground believes that the way forward is to be proactive rather than reactive, and to focus on the individual in everything they do. Decisions and actions should are based on prevention, sustainability and motivation for a positive attitude towards life and the people around them. Project Playground creates a safe space for children to be children.
Because we know that what happens early, matters a lifetime.