24th February 2020
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Child-friendly playground launched in Juba by Whitaker

Author: Joakino Francis | Published: 11 months ago

Forest Whitaker standing among children and on-lookers during the launch of the playground in Juba on March 18, 2019. Photo: Joakino Francis/Eye Radio

Renown Hollywood Academy award winner, and Goodwill Ambassador, Forest Whitaker has launched a community learning center in Juba.

The center – dubbed Naguib Sawiris Playground – is a child-friendly space equipped with modern playing structures – including seesaws, slides, and swings, with donations made through the WhitakerPeace and Development Initiative, WPDI.

The center is located behind Supiri Secondary School.

This is one of the initiatives supported by WPDI in South Sudan. It has engaged youths in Jonglei and the former Eastern Equatoria States, as part of its Youth Peacemaker Network in South Sudan or YPN.

According to WFPDI, the goal of the YPN is to empower youth with peace-building and conflict management/mitigation skills, meditation and life-skills.

It also equips them with ICT skills in order to help build a peaceful network of young leaders who possess the capacity to strengthen their respective communities by implementing community-building projects.

During the launch of the child-friendly playground in Juba, Mr. Whitaker who is in the country said building a brighter future of South Sudan, and that of the world can be earnest through giving children the care and opportunity they deserve.

“We have to care about those who are outside ourselves and we have to recognize we have the power and strength to make a great nation. And inside of them, they hold the key to the future of this nation,” he said.

“So they can know that they hold the power with themselves to transform, to make things great.”

The ‘Naguib Sawiris playground’ has been named after Egyptian billionaire businessman, Naguib Onsi Sawiris after he funded its construction.

This is the only existing child-friendly playground in the country.

Mr. Sawiris said he funded the project because he felt he “owed it to the late Dr. John Garang” to continue his legacy.

“He [Garang] was very dear to my heart. As these are his people and children of his people, there is nothing more important than to give them joy because they have limited chances to play and enjoy life,” he said.

Sawiris praised Whitaker for “doing [project] it with love and I am doing it with love too.”

WPDI is an international non-profit organization founded by UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, Forest Whitaker – an American Actor, Producer, and Director.

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