During this period the playground continued to be cared for and used by the local community in Halabja, under the guiding hand of our brilliant play worker Warzer Muhammed, who juggles his role with teaching sports in a local school.
As the land had been claimed, owned and loved for the purpose of play by the children since the beginning of the project back in 2009 it has continued to be used by young people as a place to hang out in various stages of construction. This has many parallels to the European model of an adventure playground which originally inspired the direction of this project.
Fundraising for materials became increasingly challenging during the UK recession in 2011-2012, with the no visits possible from the UK team to Halabja, but continuing dialogue and support between the trustees and the community in Halabja has ensured connections remain
The UK team had regular contact with Warzer and the Ali family, who co- founded the project during this period. During this period the trustees voted in a new chair, Clea Sambrook, who has been instrumental in ensuring the smooth running of the charity from the UK.
In early 2013 the Halabja community play project charity was delighted to receive a donation from the Shepard’s Gift Foundation, based in America (add link to their website here: http://www.chobani.com/foundation)
This generous bequest enabled the UK team to travel back to Halabja with more supplies and funding to recommence the landscaping of the site, with a 3 week trip in August 2013. Work completed on this visit included building the perimeter wall higher (to stop the cows coming in!) adding gates, digging a soak away for drainage and constructing a water tank and tap to the secure shed on site. In addition to this the UK team of connected again face to face with the children and families of the increasingly densely populated district our playground is based and kept them informed of the upcoming plans.
With play equipment donations from Huck nets and South West Play adding to our freight load sent out in spring 2014 the UK team was prepared to head back out to Halabja for an intense 4 weeks of building and landscaping on the site. The freight carriage was kindly donated by Sharpost, and was unloaded excitedly by all the children when it arrived one evening in March. The UK build team worked hard over 4 weeks in the spring designing, building and landscaping on the site, with the children interested and involved at all stages. Trees were planted, two swing frames installed for the younger children, massive boulders set in the ground for climbing on and a lovely vine covered pergola and seats for the parents constructed. The entry ramp for the zip line was built from timber, with a high climbing and jumping platform launching into a shingle pit dug and flattened with enthusiastic help from the children. This trip also gave the build team an opportunity to refurbish, strengthen and re paint the original structures built on the site in previous years.