About Us

The work promoted by Child Play International began in Argentina in 1979, when the first pediatric hospital playroom opened.

The aim was to provide a place where the sick children and their mothers could relax and be guided into some anxiety-free play in the course of their otherwise sterile hospital day. There are now five of these playrooms in different hospitals in Buenos Aires, including the largest and newest one, and they are about to celebrate a 25 year anniversary.

Since 1982 there has been an umbrella organization in Buenos Aires called “Juego y Vida”, which brings together and supports the hospital playroom coordinators and workers. Then we broadened our help to other congenial projects aimed at helping children to play. On a couple of occasions “Juego y Vida” had some extra money (thanks to CIDA grants) and helped provide a play-based child care centre for the staff of a children’s hospital, play materials for day care centres in other towns, for an after-school program, and for a young people’s sport facility.

We have been participating as part of a consortium in a big project with CIDA funding, aimed at introducing the “child-centred, play based” model of child care to two networks of children’s services in an impoverished suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Just last year we began our first small project in a different country — the Lima schoolyard project. We are now planning another: providing play materials and play supervision for the children in a shelter for abused women in the outskirts of Lima. We have other ideas, when we can raise more money! We have no paid employees, and are all volunteers. Our administrative expenses are low!

The people on our board are:

Board Members and helpers

Barbara Fulford (president) – – Barbara is a psychologist and has experience as a hospital “child life worker” in Canada and in Argentina, and now helps promote similar programs in play-deprived neighbourhoods of Peru.

Pauline Hobbs (vice president) was a child life worker running hospital play programs for many years in Toronto and Ottawa. She has now lent her expertise to C.P.I. since it was founded 13 years ago.

Dulce Ibarrra (treasurer) has years of experience as a nursery school teacher and a home day care provider, and also has the orderly qualities needed for keeping accounts.

Vanessa Hobbs-Meftahi (secretary) is a psychological associate and a mother — and accurately keeps our minutes.

Isobel MacKenzie has been a teacher, an early childhood educator, president of Ottawa Nursery School Association, a director of Andrew Fleck Child Centre for many years, and founder of its Family Day Care program.

Pam Waddington trained as a social worker, was manager of Home Child Care for the Andrew Fleck Child Centre for 27 years, and volunteers for many organizations from Oxfam to music festivals.

Maria Eugenia Otarola has years of experience running projects in developing countries; it was she who identified our present partners in Peru.

Myriam Esguerra de Wills is intimately and wisely familiar with various Latin-American cultures, and plays a vital role in keeping us culturally on track.

Joey Hetherington- Sukman runs the drop-in centre and play program in Ottawa that we take as our model to be aspired to.

Barbara McIlveen has been an experienced teacher and principal of a special needs school, and has initiated programs for women’s education in several very difficult countries.

We now have other resourceful helpers as well who have joined us — the list will be added to!