Our journey begins today with Save the Children in Jakarta, Indonesia. It’s a Monday, and life is just as busy as ours back home. We make it to the Save the Children office where we are briefed on security and the details we will be experiencing the next five days.
We are welcomed by John Lundine, who is the Program Director for Save the Children Indonesia. Save the Children’s theory of change is: How can we work to change children’s lives? By being innovative, by being the voice of children and their rights, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Save the Children is located in over 120 countries around the world, including the U.S.
John explains how Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation are working together on the educational program here in Jakarta, which includes child protection. The goal of this project is to last about three years and then to continue with the support of the government.
Save the Children have reached over 100 million children worldwide. The education programs will ensure that the children are getting access to quality education and stay in school. A new program area, protection for children with disabilities, will help children with disabilities get access to education and be more accepted in society.
The goal is to also educate the parents, students, and teachers about children with disabilities. This is a family-based initiative that is starting at the home then working its way into the classroom. Without this education, children with disabilities could suffer from more social issues, for example mental health issues. Other areas in which the support is needed is to help build ramps for wheelchairs or wider doors. Lastly we want the students in the classroom to help these children – not to pity them, but inspire them.
This is where we as IKEA’s customers and coworkers have made an impact. We have made these programs possible with the Soft Toys for Education campaign, and making it a great and creative success. I have once heard that “life is our moral duty; it is making known the unknown”. Our job on this trip is bringing back as much information as possible to make a larger impact when we return. I want to challenge my coworkers and customers to come up with even more ways to help support programs like this. To be educated on what efforts are really being made when we have our Soft Toys for Education campaign and to speak to it from the heart.
Save the Children and IKEA share many values. Such as “children are the most important people in the world”. Our journey will continue tomorrow.