In early September a group of IKEA co-workers from Switzerland and Hong Kong will visit projects from our partner Save the Children in Romania, that have been funded through IKEA’s yearly Soft Toys for Education campaign.
Since 1990, Save the Children Romania has been working towards improving children’s lives. For over 20 years projects have been implemented aiming at promoting children’s rights and improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable groups of children in Romania -Roma children and children with mental health problems.
To learn more about the situation of children in Romania read the below blog from Cristina Tanase, who works at Save the Children Romania.
There are several very difficult challenges concerning child rights in Romania: the ongoing discrimination of Roma children, poor implementation of adopted legislation and the challenge in increasing state budgetary allocations for education, health, and decentralization, with a particular focus on children living in disadvantaged districts.
I believe that the main issues affecting children today are poverty, discrimination, rejection, disabilities and at times the lack of parents or adult carers. All these problems facing a child can lead to emotional damage and lead children into seeking pleasure in other things that they consider “good” or putting on a mask to cover their pain and misery.
I think the main challenge facing Roma children is when they are small and start school. They are ignored by the others if they are poor and if they have a disability the other children ignore them, thereby making them feel unwelcome to school. When they are teenagers they face other problems: their parents leave for other countries to work, in order to be able to “offer their children what they need”, when in reality what the children really need is affection and attentive parents/adults, rather than cell phones and computers, etc. And when the children feel alone they often seek the company of people who are not good for them.
Children need to talk, to be listened to and encouraged by others.
Save the Children Romania is receiving funding from the IKEA Foundation, trying to help all these children through different programs focusing on: education, counselling and health initiatives.