For Kirby Brown, co-founder of Playground Builders, magic isn’t seeing someone do card tricks; it’s giving a group of children living in a war-torn area the chance to play. CreativeMornings/Vancouver invited Kirby to join us in September to talk on the theme of Magic and what it meant to him.
The one fundamental force in the universe is the power of play. For Kirby and his Playground Builders’ partner, Keith Reynolds, this belief has led them to areas of the world where remnants of war are ingrained within society and the violence of their past. For Afghanistan, a beautiful country with spiritual sites, there are the psychological and physical remains of war pockmarked in the schoolyards.
Kirby and Keith strive hard to give children in Afghanistan a chance to step outside their regular lives for an hour or two, knowing full well that they will need to return to their reality. It takes about four to six weeks to get a playground up and running, and during that time, Playground Builders employ people within the city they’re in to help them build a haven for children rather than fighting for the Taliban. Not only are they giving children a chance to bring some play into their lives, they’re giving the men a chance to create a world where laughter and play is welcomed.
With each playground Kirby and Keith build, it gives children a reason to attend school, bringing them delight and a reprieve from their lives. By creating an oasis for the children, attendance has increased, they socialize rather than beat each other up, and they’re able to get their PTSD out on the playground*.
(*There has not been a study done around this but based on teacher’s accounts, this is happening)
For Kirby, even in his darkest moments, a smile from children playing on the playgrounds he and his crew have built is pure magic. And that sort of magic is a victory against the evil that haunts people in Afghanistan.
Watch his full CreativeMornings/Vancouver talk below:
CreativeMornings/Vancouver is a free monthly breakfast meeting for creatives, created to inspire, connect, and engage the community. Want to join us for our October speaker, Bill Fordy, Officer in Charge on the theme of Transparency? Click here to join the waitlist.
To help Playground Builders continue their magic in Afghanistan, please click here.