Kids stuck in a war zone have been through so much. This 'Safe Space' lets them be kids again.

These are crucial moments for the adults of tomorrow.

Kids need to play because that's how they learn.

What's a childhood without running around, playing games, and being curious about the world?


Can't stop running. Also, puppies!


But in conflict areas, that can be impossible for a kid.

Instead of playing and learning, many children who live in conflict areas find themselves fearing for their lives, fleeing from their homes, and mourning the loss of their family and friends.

Safe to say she's been through a lot. Image via CARE.

This is especially true of the children stuck smack-dab in the middle of the Syrian conflict.

Talk about chaotic. Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Syria's kids have been forced to grow up way too fast in the most traumatic and uncertain way possible. Over 1 million of them have been displaced from their homes — many losing their families, their sense of safety, and their ability to be ... kids. Many have fled to escape the violence of their neighboring countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.

For kids who've fled to Jordan, some have found a "Safe Space."

Child refugees have been welcomed by many organizations and shelters. One in particular is called "Safe Space," run by CARE in Jordan. The four Safe Space centers provide an outlet for kids to grieve, to process their thoughts, to run around, and to be kids in a safe and nurturing environment.


Coloring. Grieving. Acting. Photography. It happens here. Image via CARE.

"It's a place where children can come to have fun and also to learn how to deal with having to live through a very harsh experience of war, of refuge, of losing their loved ones," said Salam Kanaan, Director of CARE Jordan in the video below. "The feeling of loss and the grief around that, for young children, can be really traumatic. Coming to the Safe Space will bring them out of this trauma and give them an outlet for all of these sad memories that they have been experiencing. "

"It's a place where children can come to have fun and also to learn how to deal with having to live through a very harsh experience of war, of refuge, of losing their loved ones."

It's great to see a place that not only values the safety and security of these children, but also their emotional well-being. It's a rainbow at the end of a horrible situation by providing a secure place for them to go and to grow.


Who doesn't love a good maze? Image via CARE.

They are bringing smiles and hope to some of Syria's kids who have experienced such loss.

It's hard to imagine what it'd be like to live your childhood under such horrific circumstances. While these kids now have a support system, there are a lot of kids out there who don't. Everyone goes through hard times in life and this is a positive reminder of how much better off we all are when we support each other.

Before you peace out and go on your way, consider getting involved in CARE's work with child refugees. And, if nothing else, show someone some extra support today. You never know who will need it.

There is hope. Byeeeeeee. Image via CARE.

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Gates Foundation

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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