An Afghan mother plays with her child at the humanitarian tent at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Complex | U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Maxwell Bass, 24th Theater Public Affairs Support
Fort Bliss – Children laughing, toddlers crawling around, and young Afghan evacuees drawing pictures are some of the things one will see when visiting the humanitarian tent at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico.
Multiple nongovernmental agencies like Save the Children, American Red Cross, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, have joined together to make the recreational humanitarian tent run smoothly and keep young Afghan guests entertained. Fort Bliss
The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities across the country in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan.
The humanitarian tent allows for each child to participate in a session for up to three hours per day, with a maximum capacity of 80 children. Parents must accompany children to obtain accessibility. Fort Bliss
Currently, one humanitarian tent is open at the complex with plans to open at least three more.
“We have an arts and craft section, an activity section with different types of toys like blocks, soccer balls, volley balls, puzzles, and we have kid slides, things of that nature for them to enjoy,” said Denise Morales with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The tent was put in place for the Afghan children to have a recreational area where they can play and is separated into different age groups for children aged 3 to 6 years old, 7 to 11 years old, and a boy’s only section for the ages of 12 to 17.
“The purpose of this tent is to provide the children and teens an opportunity for recreation, which is a good way to cope with stress and other traumatic events,” Martin Hartney, manager with United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This opportunity eases the minds of the Afghan children who are in the process of transitioning into the United States.
“To see the kids interact and be happy, that makes my day,” said Morales.
For our complete coverage of the Afghan refugees at Fort Bliss, click here. Fort Bliss