Nine-year-old Taha is a special-needs boy from Dar Azza city (Aleppo). He lives with his father in a house they recently moved into after being displaced by the war.

Taha used to spend most of the day in the streets waiting for his father to come home from work. Like most kids of his age, Taha needs care and attention, but as a child with special needs, he requires additional support to do many of the things he can’t do on his own. His inability to do many of the things his peers could do left him with feelings of abandonment and anger, and had a negative impact on how he communicated with other kids in his neighbourhood.

Taha’s condition drew the attention of one of Hurras’ field workers, who asked his father to bring him to one of the Network’s Child-friendly Spaces. Along with many other children from his community, the facility offered him fun and engaging activities in addition to non-formal education. Taha did not cope well at the beginning, but within a few days he began showing signs of comfort and security, started enjoying the activities, and positively interacting with other kids.

The Child-friendly Spaces are safe havens for children. Here, they can express their feelings of fear or loss through creative play and social interaction, and enjoy fun activities such as story-reading, games, singing and painting.

Taha is one of the children who benefited a lot from these activities, especially from an Expediated Education program that helped him catch-up with the other kids, helping to restore his feeling of normality.

His beautiful smile, which now hardly leaves his face, is proof that a child-friendly and loving form of intervention can do a world of good for a child in need.

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