IKEA and IKEA Foundation launched the global campaign, 'Let’s Play for Change', on Universal Children’s Day, putting play at the heart of it, to support children’s development and learning, equal participation, sports, and of course, play. In Bangladesh, IKEA Foundation is teaming up with Save the Children, Room to Read and Handicap International to mitigate unsafe migration and advance the right for children on the move to protection, education, play and development.
Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world due to climate change. It is rapidly becoming an urban country, which is causing an increase in the migration rate risking the lives of more and more children. According to the Bangladesh Urban Health Survey, the country’s urban population stands at 53 million and by 2028 it will be 79.5 million. It tells migration is on the rise in Bangladesh and a major portion of it are children who are on move unsafely.
Often migrating children in Bangladesh end up in a deplorable reality. Living/working on the streets, being trafficked within and cross borders with extreme vulnerability to all forms of abuse, sexual exploitation, no or poor access to basic and development services, and losing precious childhood are some of the common consequences of unsafe child migration.
Save the Children, Room to Read and Handicap International through their different programmes will use play as an activity, to ensure children’s rights in Bangladesh.
“Through our program we are aiming to reach almost 33.000 children, directly and indirectly based in Satkhira, Rajshahi and Dhaka districts who are vulnerable to unsafe migration. Considering the magnitude of the problem this is a small initiative, but I believe it will create good evidences and approaches for the government and other agencies to apply for addressing the problem at large scale,” said Mark Pierce, Country Director, Save the Children in Bangladesh.
“We are so appreciative that through IKEA Foundation’s Let’s Play for Change campaign, Room to Read will bring the joy of reading and a love of learning to tens of thousands of children in government schools within Bangladesh where we see some of the lowest literacy rates in Southeast Asia,” stated Rakhi Sarkar, Country Director of Room to Read. “Our innovative, data-driven, and cost-effective Literacy Program works in close collaboration with the government to effect systemic change and transform the educational experience for young children in Bangladesh by improving early grade language fluency through the establishment of libraries, training of teachers, and the capacity development of local authors and illustrators to publish locally-relevant and engaging children’s books.”
“Being a child in the refugee camps, is extremely difficult. Harsh living conditions make children ill and vulnerable, sometimes they have nothing but a tent to protect them from the cold. For those children, being a child is almost impossible. Handicap International will give these refugee children an opportunity to play in a safe environment. Because play makes children happy and healthy, it allows them to learn, it teaches them empathy and improves their self-esteem. Play is a basic need. That’s why we will create safe inclusive playgrounds, where all children can develop and grow up together as socially and emotionally healthy kids. The idea is to fully integrate children with disabilities, because they are the most vulnerable to being excluded not only from basic services, but also from play and education”, said Alexey Kruk, Growing together project coordinator, Handicap International.