Built by Palestinian engineers, the toy-carrying Eco-Playbus is powered by solar and cycling power
Yesterday, 250 children from the Aida Camp in Bethlehem and various Camps across Jerusalem gathered to celebrate the launch the unique Eco-Playbus project. Aimed at Palestinians living in refugee camps, the Eco-Playbus is a traveling vehicle filled with games and toys which promotes the right to play amongst locals who often live in difficult circumstances. As well advocating the importance of play and fun for everyone from the age of 2 to 99, the project also had a distinctly green message.
Making the Most of Renewable Energy
The Eco-Playbus is powered using solar and cycling power- a world first apparently!- and was built using mainly recycled and reclaimed materials. Representatives of the project point out that the Eco-Playbus highlights problems related to environmental issues in the region and stresses the need to think about alternative and renewable energy sources. They also added the those living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories face additional pressures as “all energy resources (such as water and electricity) are affected by the occupation.”
However, Palestinian have responded with creativity and this summer saw the first Palestinian solar powered electric car hit the streets of Hebron. Green Prophet previously reported on a solar thermal plant at the Beit Jala school in Palestine and let’s not forget the amazing work of Comet-ME (Middle East), an Israeli-Palestinian partnership working to bring solar and wind power to impoverished Palestinians in Hebron.
The Eco-Playbus was built by a group of Palestinian engineers from the Brothers Engineering Group, which consists of social entrepreneurs as well as the CEO of a local company which supplies and manufactures wind turbines and solar solutions to the West Bank region.
Is the Green Message Getting Through?
Children and youth from the Shuafat Camp, Qalandia Camp, Aida Camp and Al ‘Azza Camp will benefit from the Eco-Playbus which will help transport games and children in an environmentally-friendly way. Although the Playbus has eco-elements, it’s not clear whether this message is being passed onto the children in concrete ways. It may be obvious to us that using solar power is green and helps to combat climate change but that’s not so obvious to the average kid. A conscious effort to pass that message on and also explain why renewable energy is superior would really earn this project top marks.
Funded by the EU, organisers added that the aim of the project is to transform street corners into places where the children can play and also involve the entire neighborhood in taking part in the fun activities. “The message of the Playbus is one of hope and optimism amid very difficult living conditions.” explained EU Representative Christian Berger.
Both children and parents are in need of such creative boosts on their daily lives; the Playbus’ activities offer them the opportunity to explore their creative side, experience a true interaction among the children, their educators and their parents and put their problems aside at least for a few hours.”
For more on solar power in Palestine see:
Comet-ME Continues to Bring Power to Villagers in the South Hebron Hills
Palestine’s First Solar Power Electric Car Takes to the Streets of Hebron
Talitha Kumi School in Beit Jala is Home to Palestine’s First Solar Thermal Plant