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Experts say “play age,” the first cycle of a child’s education, is vital for development. Yet there are very few places for kids to amuse themselves after school in Addis Ababa.
The after school centers that do exist in the city tend to focus on tutoring and academics. But educational professionals point out active recreational activities help children to focus, concentrate and improve creativity. When youth are not able to release their energy positively it can lead to health, behavior, and academic problems.
Now a new business in Addis Ababa will provide an open space for kids to run around and play. Jacadi, which is short for the French ‘Jacque a dit’ from the famous children’s game ‘Simon says,’ has a very spacious outdoor playground with a basketball court, mini football field, a trampoline and an indoor playing area with more fun, child centered activities. Rouphael Kebede, one of the founders of the center, is so positive about the vision for Jacadi that he is open about his business plan and hopes others will follow in his footsteps and create more of the after school centers he calls “vital” for communities.
Jacadi’s offerings are not only limited to physical outdoor adventures, it also boasts a library, storytelling area, board games and entertaining films with educational themes; all with the goal of making learning fun.
Rouphael and Eskedar Nega came up with the idea for the children’s center when they saw kids spending more of their free time watching television or playing video games. From their time abroad they say that after school centers were almost as common as schools and helped kids develop more healthy lifestyles.
Many parents who attended the inauguration last Friday, January 28th were excited about the new center. Almost all of them said they were looking for a similar type of place all over the city but could not find anything like this.
Located around the Lycee Guebre Mariam kindergarten, the center offers daycare in the mornings for two and three year old children and after school programs for youth five to ten years of age. Starting Jacadi took patience, finding the right space, obtaining an investment license and renovating the facility took three years and has cost over a million birr.