Backstory of the creation of The Power of Play
Warzone Childhood Inspires Reza to Establish a Children’s Non Profit
Imagine enduring long hours in a bomb shelter as a young child, surrounded by fearful adults, unsure of what the future holds for you and your family. Even with a loving family,such experiences leave emotional scars, unless one discovers a way to cope with such circumstances.
Reza’s Journey: From War Zone to Non Profit
Reza was born in Iran during a tumultuous period.His country was embroiled in the eight-year Iraq-Iran war. In 1980, Iraq launched an attack on Iran, seeking control over the oil-rich lands near the Iranian border. Supported by numerous Middle Eastern and Western nations, Iraq had significant backing, while Iran had relatively little. With most able-bodied men serving in the military, the casualties were numerous.
Even if you haven’t experienced war firsthand, you can imagine the hardships of living in a warzone, especially when it comes to raising children. How does one shield them from suffering? Where does one find sufficient food and clean water? And what happens if your home is bombed, leaving your children without a safe place to sleep?
This was the reality in the 1980s, long before smartphones and tablets dominated children’s lives. Back then, outdoor play was the norm. Reza and his friends would roam the neighborhood, engaging in games and activities throughout the day. Life seemed somewhat normal, similar to any other country at the time. However, that illusion was shattered every time the piercing sound of the siren, all too familiar to everyone, wailed through the air. It was a signal for families to rush to the shelter and seek refuge, striving to survive.
Reza’s Unique Contribution: The Power of Play
Reza’s extended family had access to a shelter where they sought safety during air raids. As darkness enveloped the space, the adults would tape the windows to prevent the glass from shattering and endangering children’s lives. The air inside became thick with heat and a sense of anticipation, drenched in fear and anxiety that gripped every individual. Fortunately, with each passing night of survival unscathed, the intensity of fear and anxiety gradually diminished. Humans have a remarkable ability to adapt to even the most challenging circumstances, despite lingering trauma…
Young Reza displayed an extraordinary fearlessness amidst the chaos. He eagerly organized games of hide and seek under the shelter’s tables, rallying his cousins to participate.
Although some adults viewed his behavior as mischievous, it stemmed from a deeper purpose. Unbeknownst to him, Reza instinctively understood that engaging in play would divert children’s attention away from the fear and anxiety that haunted their existence. Amidst the warzone, Reza discovered the power of finding moments of lightness and shared this gift with others. His coping mechanism through play shielded him from the long-lasting effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adulthood. Sadly, not all of his childhood friends were as fortunate.
Five years ago, Reza had an epiphany: the coping mechanism he developed during his own childhood could serve as a lifeline for other children facing similar circumstances. Motivated by this realization, he established a non-profit aimed at restoring children’s right to a genuine childhood, allowing them to experience the joys of play. If you’re curious about the remarkable journey that led Reza to achieve this noble endeavor, continue reading our blog for more inspiring details!