Colourful booths enliven Hayarden school for children of refugees in Tel Aviv
A house-shaped reading nook and colourful paintwork are among the playful features in this school for the children of refugees living in Tel Aviv, which has been overhauled by a team of local architects and designers.
The Hayarden school is designed for children aged five to 16, who predominantly live in Tel Aviv's Hatikva Quarter – a working-class neighbourhood where there has been a surge in African asylum-seekers finding refuge.
"The principal told us that the atmosphere at the school has changed ever since: the kids have more self-esteem and there is less violence," Hay added. "[The kids] were deeply touched that someone had actually made an effort especially for them."
Tel Aviv is home to 60,000 refugees and foreign men, women and children, amounting to roughly 10 per cent of the city's population. Many are from Sudan and Eritrea.
The Hayarden school is currently attended by 360 pupils from kindergarten to sixth grade. Its location is near to the city's decaying Central Bus Station, which has become a hive of commercial activity for migrants, and a haven for drug addicts.
Hay highlighted the "importance of aesthetic and designed learning environment for all children, especially in an economically disadvantaged area".
"School becomes a second home for these children who mostly don't have the safe and intimate corner in their own home," she said.
"It's at these times that I feel that design becomes a tool for social change," the designer continued. "The power of education that can change and influence and therefore create a better life for less-fortunate kids is immense."
Hay's sentiment chimes in with that of the American Institute of Architects, which recently called on "the power of design" to help address violence in US schools and create safer environments for children.
Other education facilities using design to impact greater change include a large-scale, low-cost school at a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, a farming school in rural Cambodia, and a sensory playground in London for children with autism.
Photography is by Itay Benit.
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