From far, approaching the Make Me Smile Youth Friendly Centre, one can hear the laughter of children playing at the Safe Park, the only public playground in Kisumu East.

Since its inauguration in 2015, the Safe Park has been providing a space for children to play peacefully in a safe environment.

Playing is our children´s job

The Make Me Smile Safe Park is the first of its kind in Kenya inspired by a concept which has been successfully reproduced all over South Africa by the National Association of Child Care Workers.
There are lots of reasons why playing is important and should not only be seen as a children’s rights, but as their duty!

Play …

encourages self-esteem, independence and confidence

sparks imagination and creativity

helps develop dexterity and body control

improves communication and language skills

fosters cooperation

provides skills to work through social conflicts

lowers the stress level and relaxes

improves physical and mental health

fosters cognitive growth

improves literacy

promotes physical fitness

grows social competence and empathy

helps develop problem solving skills.

strengthens relationships with caretakers and peers

The initial situation

Unfortunately, this basic right has faded into the background in recent years because it is increasingly viewed as unaffordable luxury. In many areas, there is a lack of playing facilities for children. A child will always choose to play wherever it can, which often leads to playing in harmful environments. Furthermore, academic and parental pressure does not give children enough opportunities to play, as it is viewed as a waste of time. Many children are at home alone after school or have chores to do around the house, in the fields, or they have to look after younger siblings. There is no place where children can simply be children without being responsible for someone else. The Safe Park thus also fulfills an important task in reducing child labor in the region.

And if you dream, dream big

With the generous support of the sports ministry in Austria and our valued donors, we’ve successfully introduced a diverse array of daily activities for the children at the Safe Park, including yoga, painting, soccer, volleyball and other activities. Additionally, our monthly children’s clubs have garnered the participation of hundreds of kids, creating a vibrant and engaging environment. This whole initiative aims to dismantle stereotypes and foster a society that transcends gender norms, encouraging children to interact and play freely without any gender-based distinctions. The bi-annually sports tournaments add even more reach to the program. We are proud to announce that this project is funded from December 2022 through December 2024. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved for making this possible and especially the Sports Ministry in Austria. Thank you for your continued support in nurturing and expanding the potential of the Safe Park.

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