Migrant children get a break at play center Children watch a movie at a refugee camp near the northern Greek village of Idomeni near to southern Macedonia, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Migrant children get a break at play center
Lexile

Thousands of refugees wait long hours to cross the Greece-Macedonia border. They hope to head to more prosperous northern European countries. While they wait, the youngest look for something to pass the time.
 
Charities have set up a children's play center. It is operational 24 hours a day, in the Idomeni, Greece camp. Children can watch cartoons or draw while their parents wait for their family's turn to cross the border.
 
"We try to occupy the children and care for infants. And also identify unaccompanied minors so efforts can begin to reunite them with their families," said Alexis Vrahnos.  She is a local coordinator of the Arsis charity that set up the play center in cooperation with Save the Children and Terre Des Hommes.
 
The play center is staffed round the clock by a psychologist and a teacher. Two interpreters and a nurse are also on staff.
 
Sitting at one table is 5-year-old Alman from Kobani, Syria, along with his two brothers. He proudly holds up the picture he's been drawing.
 
"It's a child walking on water," he tells a visiting reporter.
 
His father Mahmoud says the family traveled to the Greek island of Lesbos from the nearby Turkish coast.  It is a short but dangerous journey that has cost many lives as overcrowded dinghies or wooden boats capsize or sink.
 
"We had a difficult journey in the sea until we reached Mytilene," he says. He is referring to the island's capital. "The children were all wearing life jackets.  But what they lived through was terrifying. Thankfully they will quickly forget it."
 
He didn't want to give a surname for fear of punishment of relatives back home.
 
Two sisters from the Syrian city of Hama 4-year-old Sofia and her 3-year-old sister Lilas sit at the next table. They sit with their three cousins. Sofia draws a picture of flowers.
 
"When she sees many people, she gets very scared," said her father Mohamed Kheer. "The boys usually draw guns," he says of his three nephews. "The girls draw houses and flowers."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is it important to provide a diversion for these kids?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (171)
  • briannec-ste
    11/12/2015 - 03:16 p.m.

    This is so great for kids that are shy and have nothing to do.I would hate to have to go through what these kids are. I don't really like new things but a distraction while waiting for the new could take my mind off of it.

  • jennac-orv
    11/12/2015 - 07:12 p.m.

    I think it's important, because these kids have been through hard and terrifying things, and they need something to help pass the time. It also can get there minds' off of things that are happening around them. This is a good thing to have.

  • sydneym-3-bar
    11/12/2015 - 08:15 p.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these kids because the diversion makes the children forget the hard journey they had, which is what a little boy's father said in paragraph 7. I liked this article because it shows how people are trying to help the other people cross the border to get somewhere safer.

  • John0724-YYCA
    11/12/2015 - 08:35 p.m.

    I think that this activity is a very great thing to do because when parents have to go somewhere far alone for a long time they could drop these kids off at the play center. I think that this idea will allow parents to do their business very comfortably. Also this camp allows kids that don't have a family to enter the play center. They help these kids to reunite with their family.

  • zeusr-3-bar
    11/12/2015 - 08:58 p.m.

    So that the kids don't miss there parents to much while there family waits there turn to cross the boarder.

    In this article it clearly states that the kids have been in a tragic accident that almost took there lives away.

    I hope that the kids who don't have there families yet will get them soon.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    11/12/2015 - 09:05 p.m.

    I think that it is an amazing idea for charities to have set up a children's play center. What is even more amazing is that it is an operational 24 hours a day, in the Idomeni, Greece camp. I hope that the children can watch cartoons or draw happily.

  • william1108-yyca
    11/12/2015 - 09:10 p.m.

    WOW! A play center sounds like a nice place. You can draw stuff and you can also watch cartoons. But waiting to be reunited with your family is sad. Because you have to wait a while or it might take hours. SO maybe I don't like the play center.

  • samuelh-3-bar
    11/12/2015 - 09:42 p.m.

    It is important to give these kids something to keep them pre occupied with so they don't get separated from family, or getting mixed up. this is a good thing because it gives the kids who just came from a country in a civil war something fun to do instead of living in fear that the war will come back, and it gives them a chance to laugh, instead of hearing the sounds of gunfire.

  • summerc-1-bar
    11/12/2015 - 11:15 p.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these kids because they need something to while their parents wait for their turn to cross the border. If the kids aren't occupied then they would drive their parents crazy! In paragraph three Alexis Vrahnos gives another reason as to why it is important to create a diversion for the children: "We try to occupy the children and care for infants. And also identify unaccompanied minors so efforts can begin to reunite them with their families."
    I think it is wonderful that people would take time out of their day to look after children while the parents wait for their family's turn to cross the border. The volunteers could easily be doing something else, but they decided to tend to the kids.

  • madelinew-1-bar
    11/12/2015 - 11:24 p.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these children because they've been through a lot and need something to help them relax. It will also allow them a chance to move on and start a new better life. This is shown in paragraph 8, "But what they lived through was terrifying. Thankfully they will quickly forget it."

    I personally think this article was sad. Reading about this topic and thinking about how hard it must have been on these kids who are younger than me really makes me appreciate the life I have.

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