In the West, play therapy is considered a form of counseling, which allows children to communicate their feelings through playing with toys and play materials. It gives them a safe place to express their feelings and is also believed to give children a way to alleviate their stress and give them a feeling of having more control over their emotions.
When Ashiq, the inspiration behind ASHIC, was being treated at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, he loved his time at the play center. Minutes before he went in for a major surgery, he was busy pushing a play stroller in the playroom, a bright and cheerful place. His experience remained with his parents and, as such, it was one of the first programs they sought to introduce.
In 1997, ASHIC Foundation was the first organization in Bangladesh to start the concept of play-centers at pediatric wards. Now ASHIC operates three across the country: Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Chittagong Medical College Hospital and Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.
ASHIC provides all the toys and other play materials, and also pays for a supervisor for the hours the center is open. It is open to all the children at the ward and on average each center sees almost 100 children per month. Many of the children have never had any toys and the pleasure with which they embrace the experience at the play center is truly heart-warming.
If you would like to support a center, the cost to do so is $200/ month, which includes the cost of replenishing toys and the salary for the supervisor who also makes sure that the materials remain as sanitary as possible.