This post brought to you by IKEA Foundation. All opinions are 100% mine.
Did you know that millions of children as young as 5 are forced to leave school and work long hard days in hot fields and stagnant factories, all for as little as pennies a day? In India alone, 13 million children live this way. I think of it this way: my son’s allowance for doing chores that take a minute or two is more than most child laborers see after 40+ hours of hard manual work. He just turned 9 and I don’t even let him walk home from the bus stop alone, let alone spend hours working in a field!
My son just got out of school for the summer, and we’re celebrating with a fun day at the pool this weekend. I’m excited that school is out. Then I see stories about kids who don’t even get to go to school and I think how fortunate I am to live in a country where my child has the option of even attending. Where “Last Day of School” parties can happen, because there is a first day of school. I’m lucky that my son gets to spend the summer playing.
Children should be free to spend their developmental years learning and exploring their interests. They should be playing with friends, climbing trees, riding scooters! They shouldn’t be forced to give up their childhood to work in conditions that would be dangerous even for most adults. The IKEA Foundation Child Labor initiative is working hard to make sure as many children as possible get their childhood back.
On June 12th– World Day Against Child Labor- the IKEA foundation, along with Save the Children, announced a $7 million program to help end child labor in cotton fields for 790,000 kids in India. This is actually the second phase of their mission. The first phase helped 600,000 children! See the IKEA Foundation video to learn how they work.
How IKEA Foundation Helps End Child Labor in India
Here’s what I love so much about the IKEA Foundation’s mission: it doesn’t just take kids out of cotton fields, it gives them the tools to completely transform their lives. For example, the program:
- Helped move more than 10,000 migrant children back into their homes and communities.
- Put nearly 2,000 trained teachers into participating villages, which in turn improved school enrollment rates.
- Gave 1,866 Anganwadi (health and education) workers training in teaching practices, so that each village had a skilled community worker.
You can’t just change one aspect of a child’s life and expect it to stick. You have to change their entire environment and give them access to educational resources. Think about it this way: without a complete community change, our children’s generation is bound to make the same mistakes our generation has made. History will repeat unless drastic changes are made. IKEA Foundation’s recognizes that and takes a holistic approach to their mission. They give the entire community a chance to change the future.
IKEA Foundation’s CEO Per Heggenes says it best: “We know there is no quick-fix solution to ending child labor, but long–term approaches can yield impressive results. The IKEA Foundation, with our partners, has been tackling this issue in India for nearly a decade. This new phase reinforces our long-term commitment and our desire to help millions more children out of child labor and back into the classrooms.”
The program, along with IKEA Foundation Partners, helped a little boy named Tejas recapture his childhood. He’s just one of many kids who now get to experience the joys of being a child!
You can help the IKEA Foundation end child labor by spreading the word about the program. Visit IKEA Foundation Facebook to learn more, share their messages and get involved.
What do you think we, as a world community, can do to help end child labor?