No child should be treated unfairly on any basis – no matter who they are, where they live, what their parents do, what language they speak, what their religion is, whether they are a boy or girl, what their culture is, whether they have a disability, whether they are rich or poor. All children have rights and each child should feel included in the society they live in.
In 2017, 39 social ventures in our portfolio worked to empower and promote social, economic and political inclusion of children from marginalized groups (SDG target 10.2). Here are two examples:
Gunilla Lundberg - Sweden Target (SDG taget 10.2)
Unaccompanied youth face significantly higher thresholds when entering the Swedish labor market, when compared to established Swedes. Gunilla’s organization, IT-Guide, offer a 30-hour training course, for unaccompanied youth, to become an IT-guide and thus be able to teach IT to senior citizens in Sweden. This gives the youth work experience, the chance to develop their Swedish language skills and to gain new knowledge about Swedish society.
Rūta Vitkevičienė - Lithuania (SDG target 10.2)
There is a lack of interactive and fun learning tools for children with hearing and speaking disabilities in Lithuania, a dearth of properly trained staff and a prevalence of negative attitudes towards such children. Only around 1000 children with disabilities are able to get into higher education each year, which makes up less than one percent of all children . Ruta Vitkeviciene has created an E-platform, for learning sign language, where children learn writing and important hand gestures through a game. It is the first of its kind in Lithuania.
children and youth were supported to become more included in their communities and society, through interventions carried out by our social ventures in 2017.
of our social ventures considered the grant from Reach for Change as very or extremely important for developing their operations to achieve more impact in 2017 compared to in 2016
Grant funding helped CESER influence a social system, to reduce stigma attached to thousands of children with disabilities in Chad
In Chad, children with disabilities are believed to be evil spirits that bring a curse on their family. As a result these children are often marginalized, hidden away or abandoned - which in some cases has lead to deaths. The Chadian government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, but remains one of 12 countries that still has not ratified it. Social entrepreneur Adoumkidjim Naiban, and his organization CESER, run the first centre in Chad to support these children. They work to develop children’s potential through activities such as handicraft training and sports, giving them freedom to explore and learn.
Before Adoumkidjim was selected to join the Incubator he was successfully running a centre in the capital N’Djamena, but was struggling to scale: “Setting up operations in other cities was very expensive and we did not have neither the resources nor the strategy”, says Adoumkidjim.
To address the challenge, Reach for Change supported Adoumkidjim to develop a feasible expansion plan. The resulting strategy was for Adoumkidjim to set up a national network of local associations lead by parents of children with disabilities. The parents would be recruited to raise awareness and educate community members, to reduce stigma and hurtful practices.
In order to enable the recruitment of parents, Reach for Change supported Adoumkidjim with funding which allowed him to travel around the country with an awareness raising campaign.
In 2017, CESER is working through parent-lead associations in as many as twelve cities. This country- wide establishment has contributed to that Adoumkidjim is recognized as a leading subject matter expert by the Chadian government, which gives him the opportunity to lobby for changes in the ‘system’ surrounding the problem. Adoumkidjim exemplifies: “Previously children with disabilities were not actively included in the World Children’s Day events and activities, but thanks to a shift in mindset the government is now keen to have them be part, a key milestone on the path towards shifting the mentality of the entire Chadian society.”
Another opportunity that has materialized for Adoumkidjim since CESER’s expansion, is being invited on a regular basis to speak on the radio about children with disabilities. In a country where 65 % of the adult population is illiterate, radio broadcasting is a key communication channel and a powerful means for Adoumkidjim to impact societal attitudes also in the rural parts of Chad.
During 2017, CESER provided direct support to as many as 1,359 Chadian children with disabilities. One of the many children that has been positively impacted by CESER’s work is Messie
“Setting up operations in other cities was very expensive and we did not have neither the resources nor the strategy”
CESER helped Messie become more independent and socially included
“Messie is a 7 year old boy with multiple disabilities, including having his mobility impaired in his hands and legs, as well as facing learning difficulties. He is totally dependent on his parents and other people for all his mobility, and he has trouble articulating and verbalizing.
Messie’s parents heard of CESER and enrolled him for the 2016-2017 school year. After only a couple of months of participation in the center’s activities, Messie was able to do more things by himself.
He can now eat on his own and play with a ball. He has managed to make friends with other children at the center. The other children have started decoding Messie’s language, and he can even articulate a few words along with writing some letters. ‘The greatest pleasure of all is to see Messie blossoming and sharing his joy with others’, says Adoumkidjim”.
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