By learning through play, the SOS Playbus helps children develop skills, acquire knowledge and build relationships... most of the time! Also, the Playbus educators are looked up to as role models, advice givers; and are sometimes even a moving force in the community. They shared a couple of their stories:
Passing the Wisdom
"One rainy day, we were doing some pending office work. Out of the blue, two boys from the SOS Children's Village Tbilisi walked into the room. Children are welcome in our room, especially in bad weather when we can't do anything outside. They hung around talking about seemingly casual things.
After a few minutes, we noticed that the boys looked worried, but were trying to hide it. They started asking us for smart ways of dealing with children who do not play fair. They claimed some school friends had such a problem. It turned out that they were the ones with the problem and they wanted to solve it without fights or accusations.
They came to us because, as they put it, we are experts in this. We talked to them, gave them some advice and shared practical experiences from activities in which they had participated. A week later they told us that they had managed to solve the problem. The boys were very happy and we were very proud of them. We were proud of ourselves, too."
Bringing People Together... and bringing them Outdoors
The SOS Playbus team often travels to the suburbs of Tbilisi. There, between the massive blocks of buildings, children don't have much room to play. Instead, they stay indoors, on their own, and the remote control or the joystick seems like part of their hand. The adults while away their free time in pretty much the same way.
"We were carrying out our activities as usual in one of the suburbs. When we were almost finished, one parent approached us and expressed her heartfelt gratitude. She explained that she had moved to that district recently and didn't know anyone. The SOS Playbus activities had given her a chance to meet neighbours and make friends."
"Another time in the same district, one boy admitted that he used to spend hours and hours with his computer playing games. When we came to his neighbourhood, he became attracted to our games and less interested in computer games, which are mostly violent. He has made many friends and even when we're not around, he enjoys being in the sunlight and making friends."