Safe play areas for Azerbaijan's young people
The International Olympic Committee, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has helped clear outdoor sports areas of landmines in Azerbaijan. These “safe play areas” have been equipped with basic sports equipment to enable the local youngsters to enjoy sports activities in complete safely.
Peace of mind for parents
Prior to the safe play areas, local children who wanted to play outside used to hear: “Be careful!”, “Don't go far from the garden!”, or “Only play near the house!” Thanks to the creation of safe playgrounds, this is a thing of the past, and the kids of Mahmudlu can play like any other children in the world.
The ICRC launched the safe play area project in 2005 in the Nagorny Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, as even though hostilities were suspended over a decade ago, their deadly legacy lived on in the form of landmines.
3,500 children play safe
For the community leader, Mahmudov, his hope is that “very soon there will be no need to construct safe playgrounds for children”, and that “the whole country will be a safe area, free of mines”. Today, this dream is already a reality for some 3,500 children living in 42 communities in this region of Azerbaijan.
Ten-year-old Elgun Suleymanly recalls: “When we heard that a playground was to be constructed here, we were very happy and ran towards our school. We were told that we would assist with the construction. We cleared debris from the ground and brought in water and sand in buckets.”