Let Them Play is a campaign with a simple purpose; to bring happiness and joy to the lives of Iraqi orphaned children by sending them toys, art equipment and school supplies. We collect donations of new and gently used toys from people like yourselves in the UK and get them sorted and shipped to Iraq where they have a new lease of life with an overjoyed new owner.
The children of Iraq have suffered endless wars, two decades of sanctions and continued instability of their country. Surveys have shown that approximately 20% of Iraqi households have lost at least one member due to violence and that since 2014, 3.4 million Iraqi children have been internally displaced (Child Victims of War).
Here at Let them Play we know that toys are not the solution to all of these problems, but we do know that they help to spark some joy and may help a child to feel like a child again, no matter how hard their living conditions. Playing is one of the fundamental rights of a child, as enshrined by the United Nations:
Article 31 of The Convention of the Rights of the Child
States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child
Play is essential to a child’s cognitive development; it helps them to interact and connect with other children, it enables them to communicate their emotions and feelings and empowers them to develop their physical skills.
Between 2014 and 2017 we sent over 6,900 kilos of toys to Iraq in more than 12 different installments. It’s a win-win situation, you get to give away toys that your child is no longer playing with, teach your kids about and involve them in a charitable act and bring a smile to the face of an orphan at the same time!
Our wider work
Let them Play is a campaign run by Al-Ayn Social Care Foundation (UK), which works in collaboration with Al-Ayn (Iraq), as part of a wider scheme to support orphaned children. Children registered with the charity receive:
- Financial support
- Medical care
- Educational support
- Other programmes tailored to their needs
Emphasis is placed on the psychological rehabilitation of orphans, in particular those who have witnessed the trauma of war and conflict. The notion that more can be learned about a person through play, than in conversation, has been echoed throughout the centuries and we certainly find no exception. We are mindful that these orphaned children may take time to be able to talk about their feelings. We therefore have purpose built play areas where, through the medium of toys and play, children are able to open up about their experiences and regain their childhood.