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Refugees, Resilience, and Public Space: The BSA Syria Initiative Reception

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The BSA Syria Initiative aims to address a need for child-focused public space facilities to help improve the quality of life for Syrian refugee families in Lebanon and their hosting community by supporting the design and construction of a schoolyard and playground.

This past winter, we accomplished a significant milestone as we completed construction of the first playground in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. We are proud to say that this was a result of a true collaborative process between the Boston design community, Lebanese architects, Chicago-based and international NGO’s, and the refugee community.

We would also like to use this opportunity to announce three new projects:

  1. A new partnership with Kayany, an NGO running 7 schools in Lebanon. This partnership will include the construction of at least one playground this summer, and a total of six playgrounds to animate the school courtyards.
  2. A continuation of our partnership with Karam, this time in Reyhanli, Turkey. This project will see the construction of a large playground in the context of a small town with a 140,000 strong population of urban refugees from Syria.
  3. A local initiative with the City of Boston to develop safe spaces for children and families through Community Preservation Committee Funds for immigrant communities in the Boston neighborhoods.

Background:
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 5.6 million people have fled Syria seeking safety in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. Lebanon, a country with a population of 4 million, is host to the highest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world. There, life is a daily struggle for more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, who have little or no financial resources. There are no formal refugee camps and, as a result, Syrians are scattered throughout more than 2,100 urban and rural communities and locations, often sharing small basic lodgings with other refugee families in overcrowded conditions.

For more information, visit the BSA Syria Initiative.

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