In June 2009, I had the opportunity to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethopia, for a project focused on documenting developmental programs for children organized by Right To Play. Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.
{mosimage}The philosophy of the Right To Play organization is to level the playing field for children in areas where play is often displaced by survival against the struggles of poverty, disease and violence.  On the Right To Play playing grounds, pain, suffering and disadvantages are removed, and in their place arise smiles, laughs, courage and strength, regardless of a child’s social, physical or mental disadvantages.
I am seeking to use my images as an artistic and educational tool to help raise awareness for the Right To Play organization and, most importantly, the therapeutic nature of play in helping children learn how to address everyday challenges they face.
Through my images, I have captured the activities and emotions found on the Right To Play playing field, highlighting the work, and achieved results, in teaching critical childhood developmental skills ranging from focus and teamwork to personal hygiene and protection against diseases.
These images illustrate the story of hope in the face of adversity through children who face a daily reality most of us cannot even imagine.  Play, for each of us, offers the opportunity to find a safe place amidst violence, camaraderie where there are no friends, and common goals that create, among other things, successful and healthy communities.
Daphne Johnson of Lucidpics