Control freak seeks adventure

I believe in the power of the positive approach; looking at the bright side of life and seeing the glass is half full. I believe in doing something because it is the right thing to do. So when I joined IKEA in December 2011, I was thrilled to start working for a company that wants “to create a better everyday life for the many people”.

Quickly, I learned more about the IKEA Foundation and their partners, like Save the Children. Thanks to my colleagues in the stores and our customers, last year 9.3 million euros were raised through the Soft Toys for Education campaign, making it possible for our partners to create a better life for the people who need our support most. They believe that helping children get an education will help them break the cycle of poverty – I couldn’t agree more. Being able to see with my own eyes the great work and positive change that is being done by Save the Children in Bangladesh through different projects is a dream come true.

Next to making sure I purchase some soft toys each year, I wanted to find out how I could contribute more. Now I have this great opportunity to join one of the IWitness Global Citizen trips. I look forward to acting as a global citizen, not only for the IKEA Foundation and Save the Children but also IKEA Group’s Sustainability and Human Resources departments.

Clothes Heleen wants to wear in Bangladesh
What to wear in Bangladesh

If you would ask any of the people closest to me, they would probably describe me as a person that is extremely organized, addicted to making lists and creating order in chaos. I guess they think I am somewhat of a control freak – and I would have to agree with them. Yet, here I find myself about to travel to one of the most crowded countries in the world. I am sure this will result in an overwhelming arrival at Dhaka airport and a great personal learning experience.

Please allow me to share with you my first list (hmm lists!) of this trip:
– According to the World Bank (2011), 150 million people live in Bangladesh. This is almost 10 times as many as are living in the Netherlands!
– The Lonely Planet Bangladesh (2008) says that 1/3 of the population is below the age of 18. In the Netherlands, only 1/4 are under 18.
– It is estimated that there are about 600,000 rickshaws (bicycle taxis) in the city of Dhaka
– Plastic bags have been banned in Bangladesh since 2002

My hope is to be introduced to the real Bangladesh – most likely contradicting the first images that come to one’s mind thinking about the country. It is my goal to share this upcoming experience with as many people as I possibly can!

    Heleen Vink