Every month, we turn a refugee learning centre into a board game playing session so that kids get to play board games (working on their motor skills), interact with different individuals from different walks of life and also allow guests to visit the centre to play together. Yes, it’s a business model that E-lluminate is currently working on in hopes of sustaining refugee learning centres.
It’s an unconventional model, and honestly, we are at an experimental stage. There are doubts in all different angles, whether if this will be something people would be interested in attending, or if the kids can manage and other concerns revolving around this business model. However, visiting the learning centre each time urges us to quickly think of sustainable ways to sustain the learning centre’s financials.
The last time I visited the session, around 8 to 10 guests were attending, and the kids were so engaged, trying to win the games they were playing and collect points to win prizes. However, everyone respected the rules of the game and did not cheat to be better than each other, it was just about having a good time to interact with each other despite the language barriers and difference of culture.
Then I thought to myself, isn’t this what we always wanted to see, people coming together despite different skin colour and background. The higher purpose was to sustain a school but in the process have a great time playing and knowing each other as well. Although the games we currently have are simple games like Snake and Ladder, Monopoly or chess but it doesn’t seem to matter to them because it was all about interactions and integrations, it was simple yet meaningful.
Towards the end, one of the guests brought his artwork to the centre and showed it to the kids, all I remembered was the kids going all “wow, wow, wow” over his artwork and their eyes can’t move away from it. They wished they’ll be able to produce something like that, and so the guest offered to provide some art lessons for the kids sometime in the future.
I would say it was an afternoon full of laughter, warmth and inspiration going on in the room I hope you’ll be able to experience them one weekend for yourself one day and through your network or spreading, allowing kids that are fighting really hard for their education have a chance to acquire quality education.