IKEA Foundation Grants $53 Million to Support Children’s Right to Play

War and conflict. Poverty. Gender discrimination. Growing up too fast. These are just some of the reasons children in some of the poorest countries around the world are not allowed to play. Play makes children healthier and more resilient. It heals some of their greatest wounds and helps them remain kids without growing up too soon. Additionally, play is every child’s fundamental right according to Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately, millions of children around the world aren’t allowed to play.

IKEA is a global leader in the power of play not only in their stores but also in countries where children are routinely denied the right to play. That’s why the IKEA Foundation has granted $53 million to six leading global organizations that work with children and promote play including Handicap International, Save the Children, Special Olympics, Room to Read, UNICEF and War Child for its good cause campaign, Let’s Play for Change.

These six organizations will focus their efforts on helping children in Asia and Africa in countries such as Kenya, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Ethiopia. “Every child has the right to play. Stimulation through play is a critical part of a young child’s brain development and emotional well-being,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.

“Sadly, there are too many places around the world where devastating circumstances prevent children from simply being ‘kids’. Through the Let’s Play for Change campaign, we want to alleviate challenges to play and development in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Learn more at ikeafoundation.org.

One World Play Project

Haiti.Jacmel.GoalsBeyondtheNet-667x500Another business that promotes play is the One World Play Project, a mission-driven company based in Berkeley, CA that makes resilient toys designed for rough terrain—fields scattered with rocks, thorns, and broken glass—where most of the world plays.

When you buy a One World Futbol ($39.50-$44.50 depending on the color), One World Play Project gives a Futbol to a community in need. The One World Futbol never needs a pump and never goes flat. If you just want to give a Futbol, the price is $25.

After seeing impoverished communities around the world where kids have made balls out of anything they can find, I know how important a simple ball can be for kids and their overall mental and physical health.

Learn more at oneworldplayproject.com.

Duracell Distributes $1 Million of Batteries in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Relief

Duracell Announcement
Duracell PowerForward vehicles wait to be loaded onto a cargo plane on its way to Puerto Rico to distribute more than $1 million worth of batteries for disaster relief, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 in Portsmouth, N.H. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Duracell)

With nearly 84% of Puerto Rico still without power after Hurricane Maria, Duracell has arrived on the island today and will distribute $1 million of batteries as well as charging mobile devices and internet access through its Power Forward initiative. When natural disasters occur Duracell helps to reconnect communities. Puerto Rico will be its largest distribution effort since it launched in 2011.

PowerForward will charge mobile devices, radios, and flashlights, and provide power for critical medical devices like dialysis machines, hearing aids and ventilators. Duracell is working with the Red Cross to assess areas where there is the most need.

Duracell Announcement
A Duracell PowerForward vehicle is loaded onto a cargo plane on its way to Puerto Rico to distribute more than $1 million worth of batteries for disaster relief, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 in Portsmouth, N.H. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Duracell)

Duracell will update its Twitter and Facebook accounts with the next truck location as it navigates the island.

We have personally seen phenomenal post-recovery efforts in both Nepal after the earthquake and the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. We’re hoping to help now when people have the most on-going need during the most harrowing times.

In order to help when disaster strikes, we need the government, NGOs, and the private sector to help as much as possible. For Puerto Rico, it seems they may have to rely on NGOs and the private sector more than they expected.

Duracell Announcement
A Duracell PowerForward vehicle is loaded onto a cargo plane on its way to Puerto Rico to distribute more than $1 million worth of batteries for disaster relief, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 in Portsmouth, N.H. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Duracell)

If you have friends and family in Puerto Rico, please let them know to check the Duracell social accounts for location information.

This is not a compensated post. 

 

Europe Is Tackling Its Own Maternal Health Issues. Here’s Why. #MakeMotherhoodCount

We know that women in low-and-middle income countries are especially prone to maternal mortality. Those of us of who write about maternal health and keep up with worldwide maternal health, mortality, and morbidity statistics understand that in the world’s poorest countries we find the worst outcomes for both mothers and their infants. In recent years, we have also discovered that maternal health rates in the United States are far higher than acceptable. In fact, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate than any other developed country in the world. The countries that have the lowest maternal mortality rates are European. But that can be misleading as well.

Safe Motherhood Week , that is recognized each year between October 2 – 8, is the first coalition of partners of its kind to focus on maternal health in Europe. Some statistics will surprise you. Did you know five European women die every day from maternal health complications and in 2013, 1900 European women died from maternal health complications. Additionally, 1 in 10 women in Europe does not have access to maternal health care in the first few months of their pregnancies.

As a mother of two, I did not have optimal experiences either time I was pregnant. Each of my pregnancies was different, but the feeling I had with both of them was identical. I never felt like my physicians really cared about my pregnancies or deliveries, but that I was just a number to them. I have always chalked it up to being relatively young. I was in my mid-twenties. Even still, I believe to this day that I should have been treated with more dignity and respect. Even in two different states, I was treated the same way – with relative indifference. Even though my oldest daughter is 19, I’m still bitter about it.

I know I am not alone.

Continue reading Europe Is Tackling Its Own Maternal Health Issues. Here’s Why. #MakeMotherhoodCount

Why Save the Children Is Uniquely Suited to Help Kids After Hurricane Harvey

I have worked with Save the Children in some capacity for the past five years whether seeing their work around the world, blogging on pro-Bono campaigns or partnering as a consultant. That’s why I can personally vouch for the amazing work they do for the most vulnerable children who have experienced psychological trauma from all-too-routine natural and man-made disasters. Many people think Save the Children solely provides aid during global catastrophes that happen in far away places, but they also provide substantial aid here in the United States. Save the Children was instrumental during hurricanes Katrina and Sandy as well as the tornadoes that continually tear through the mid-west. They also were there for both the Lousiana and eastern North Carolina floods last year. I am confident in their ability to focus on not only the physical but the mental well-being of the smallest among us.

Take a moment to fill out an ICE (in case of emergency) card where you can include contact information for all family members even those who are in other states! This is important when lines are down. You never know when a natural disaster will hit, so make sure to do it now!

In a climate where some national organizations are coming under increased scrutiny about their ability to adequately help families with simple supplies, supply lines, and logistics during stateside national disasters, Save the Children continues to be a rock for children and their families. I wasn’t asked to write this post, but feel strongly it’s necessary to urge as many people to donate to Save the Children during Harvey relief efforts. Thus far Save the Children has brought truckloads of infant and toddler supplies to four shelters in Austin while strengthening its work to support children in area shelters.

Save the Children Harvey emergency response
Save the Children staff member Coleen Vivori plays with Brianna*, 4, and Khloe*, 5, at Save the Children’s Child-Friendly Space located at Kazen Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, where hundreds of displaced families, including many with infants and toddlers, are seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Save the Children’s emergency response team is on the ground in Texas, working to meet children and families’ immediate needs as Hurricane Harvey blasts inland from the Texas coastline. (PRNewsfoto/Save the Children)

Officials anticipate that more than 30,000 Texas residents will need shelter including in three mega shelters located in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Save the Children has teams on the ground, and at the request of the City of Austin, is en route to the city’s four major shelters with essential items including portable cribs and sheets, strollers, baby wash basins, hygiene kits and lotion packs.

Save the Children is also opening child-friendly spaces in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

“Child-Friendly Spaces are a hallmark of Save the Children’s emergency response, and are essential in helping children cope and build resiliency during disasters,” said Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, the organization’s senior director of U.S. emergencies. “We are working hard to make sure that children and families in Texas are getting the supplies and care they need.”

“We are evaluating the immediate needs of families who are being rescued in Houston, and those who are still stranded,” added De Marrais. “We know the longer-term needs will be in Houston and we’re determined to get child care and early education programs up and running as quickly as possible.”

To support Save the Children’s response efforts around Hurricane Harvey, please go to www.SavetheChildren.org or text Hurricane to 20222 to donate $25 to the Hurricane Harvey Children’s Relief Fund. (A $25 donation will be added to your mobile bill. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. Terms:  www.hmgf.org/t. Privacy Policy: www.savethechildren.org/privacy.)

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