The International Childhood Enrichment Program (ICEP)...
...enables the healthy physical, social, emotional and creative development of children in need through the construction of safe playground environments. ICEP empowers local communities confronted with natural disasters, conflict and / or extreme poverty to create healthy and safe play environments. Our Children Enriching Children program provides North American youth a window into global education and an opportunity to improve the lives of their international counterparts
We provide long-term psycho social support as play advocates. Through play, children learn how to socialize with other children. Without these opportunities and interactions, they are much less likely to learn to make connections and relate to other people. At play they have fun and make happy childhood memories, while they are learning life-long skills. Play is natural and intrinsically motivated – it is an escape from war wounds, poverty, and other major traumas and every day stress that these children experience.
These children are disadvantaged, at-risk, and have been emotionally scarred or physically wounded. Many have been malnourished, experienced a loss or have simply been neglected. They are the poorest of the poor and very rarely get to experience the joy of an enrichment activity. Without access to safe and sanitary play areas, these children can develop severe health problems including diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, HIV, TB, malaria, and dengue fever, all of which contribute to their individual, family, and communal misery.
RIGHT TO PLAY, IN A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNITED NATIONS, PROCLAIMS THAT PLAY IS A UNIVERSAL AND INALIENABLE RIGHT OF CHILDHOOD. THROUGH PLAY, CHILDREN DEVELOP, BOTH PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY, WHILE THEIR COMMUNITIES GROW STRONGER.
A child’s job is to play. This is how he or she develops skills that can be useful for a lifetime – These include gross motor, interpersonal, social, getting along with peers, team-building, leadership, establishing and following rules, conflict management; Play offers positive alternatives to destructive behavior. In addition, play helps develop self-esteem, patience, empathy, and the ability to make friends. Arguably, the largest benefit to having a playground attached to a school is that it can actually entice children to stay in school or go to school in the first place! It becomes a motivator if not the main attraction for children to attend school.
Children Enriching Children
Over the last several years, ICEP has developed a cooperative program with local schools in Maine. School children and their teachers adopt a school/playground project in on of our participating countries. Afterwards, they raise funds to build it – while learning about the country’s geography, culture, and history. The program called, Children Enriching Children, has an academic value to Maine students with an integration of world affairs and cultural studies, while the lives of Haitian or Afghan children are enriched with a secure place to play. Since the program’s inception, we have successfully partnered with several school districts in Maine's Greater Portland Area.