Children's Games in Africa (video)
Dancing, laughing and playing are powerful influences. They can transform soft-spoken bystanders into leaders, turn a group of individuals into a unified team and relieve a child’s anxiety about finding the next meal for at least a little while. Firelight grantee partners include many games, dancing and singing in their work with children. It occurs naturally when children come together and they have full stomachs and feel loved and supported. Sometimes they start the games themselves, other times they are encouraged by adults. No matter how it starts, the energy is the same. Firelight Program Officer, Aili Langseth, recently visited grantee partners in Zimbabwe and saw many children playing at the grassroots groups they are a part of there. One group, Youth for a Child in Christ or YOCIC is led by a staff of four young women in their early twenties who grew up through the program. They now run the seven kids clubs that focus on support for children going through a difficult time or who are vulnerable in some way. Children might be vulnerable due to HIV, AIDS, poverty or intense grief from losing a parent.
YOCIC doesn’t provide anything material—their work is solely psychosocial support with games and exercises. They use spaces all around the community—homes, churches, community organizations—to bring children together on weekends. Right now, 173 children participate. Langseth brought back the video below that shows YOCIC children and youth leaders playing one of their games. She said, “Part of their strategy with this game is leadership and socializing. The girl in the video with the baby, Janet, was so shy and now she’s a leader in the club. Janet is really an incredible leader and she attributes all of it to YOCIC.”
Enjoy the dancing and games!