From MN to Lebanon: How a Twin Cities playground ended up at a Syrian refugee camp

Many kids at Syrian refugee camps have never used a playground before.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

This playground used to be in Woodbury, Minnesota. Now it's halfway across the world, being enjoyed by kids at a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.

That's about 6,000 miles away.

According to a recent post on the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Facebook page, the city donated Timberlea playground in 2015 to a nonprofit called Kids Around the World. The organization works to better the lives of children in war-ravaged and poverty-stricken communities.

So Kids Around the World fixed up the play area, and installed it at a Syrian refugee camp in November.

It's a big deal for the kids who've settled at those camps.

The Woodbury Bulletin says the playground is basically a "safe area" for the kids. And the park gets a lot of use, considering it could be the first playground many kids there have ever used.

"These kids don't smile. Life is hard on them," Paul Bierhaus, a board member for Kids Around the World, told the newspaper "When they see that playground and realize it's for them, their faces just light up, and they go nuts when they get the chance to play on that playground."

The Syrian Regional Refugee Response says more than a million refugees have settled in Lebanon. About 40 percent are 11 years old or younger.

The Woodbury paper says the Twin Cities metro area has donated 85 playgrounds through Kids Around the World in the last five years.

If you'd like to read more about what it's like to be a kid in a Syrian refugee camp, Time magazine did a feature in 2015 explaining how the children search for joy in the tiniest things. And last year, the Guardian released a bunch of photos showing what it's like to live in a camp.

Next Up

ambulance

State Patrol investigating fatal crash near Duluth

The crash was reported around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.

vaping

Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, Jan. 27

The latest update from the state health department.

charley's

Charges: Bar owner, employee served underage drinkers during shutdown

The bar hosted 20-30 people on Dec. 4, 2020, charges say.

police lights

Driver wearing bulletproof vest strikes pedestrian in Rochester

The 21-year-old claimed the vest keeps him warm, according to police.

Related

Brooklyn Park PD ended up with a lot of bikes and is donating them

Over the course of a year, police departments collect a lot of bikes. Brooklyn Park PD is donating its collection to kids in need.

Brooklyn Park PD ended up with a lot of bikes and is donating them

Over the course of a year, police departments collect a lot of bikes. Brooklyn Park PD is donating its collection to kids in need.

There are more than 3,000 pumpkins decorating the State Fairgrounds

Take a half-mile long walk through thousands of pumpkins at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.