SDG: 5. Gender equality & 10. Reduced inequalities
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.
Natassia Fry and Pegah Afsharian started Kompis Ungdom, a buddy program connecting established Swedes with newly arrived youth with the aim to erase cultural polarization and social barriers among Swedish youth.
Mikael Højbjerg and Thomas Mose have created "Ordblindetræning" a customized online platform that provides dyslexic aid training for children, in school as well as for private use.
entrepreneurs in our portfolio work with different solutions to promote social inclusion of children from marginalized groups.
children and youth were supported to become more included in their communities and society, through interventions carried out by Change Leaders in Bulgaria, Chad, Denmark, DRC, Norway, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Tanzania.
Reach for Change's stamp of approval helped Cirkus Unik partner with local government.
Sweden enjoys a rich cultural diversity, but many cities suffer from increasing rates of segregation and social inequality which often causes prejudice and barriers to grow between different socio-economic groups. Elin Lutke and Jailton Carneiro run Cirkus Unik which uses circus training as a tool to promote inclusion and integration among children and young people from segregated housing areas.
In 2015, Cirkus Unik operated in four Gothenburg communities aiming to find a business and scaling model that allowed for sustainable expansion to more communities. Elin and Jailton identified local government as a key stakeholder, and approached them with a partnership proposal. Although Cirkus Unik had demonstrated good results, the proposed partnership entailed a larger investment and required a high level of trust from the government officials. At this point Cirkus Unik had just been selected to join the Reach for Change Incubator. Elin explains: “I remember one of the government officials saying that ‘If Reach for Change believes in Cirkus Unik, then why shouldn’t we’. Reach for Change’s confidence in us gave a stamp of approval and credibility that helped us win the partnership.”
Since the beginning of 2016, the local government has funded Cirkus Unik to run their circus school and workshops as a core part of after school activities. So far this year they have supported more than 800 children in six communities (compared to 160 children in four communities in 2015). Elin and Jailton are now exploring how they could advance their business model to encompass the business sector. Elin emphasizes that the advisory board Reach for Change has connected with Cirkus Unik will be helpful in their efforts to expand “Anna Harris from Spotify, Ola Pettersson from Tele2 and Joakim Klingspor from MTG contribute a highly valuable business perspective which Jailton and I have little experience of.”
“I remember one of the government officials saying that ‘If Reach for Change believes in Cirkus Unik, then why shouldn’t we’. Reach for Change’s confidence in us gave a stamp of approval and credibility that helped us win the partnership.”
Serwah Quaynor helped 1721 children with autism become more included in their community. Several ethnic groups in Ghanaian culture believe that children born with autism are outcasts who cannot be integrated into society. Change Leader Serwah Quaynor runs Autism Awareness and Care Training (AACT), an organization which offer occupational therapy and life skills training to children with autism. Serway encourages the inclusion of these children into mainstream education and society, and says that the government needs to train teachers to help children with autism, and increase support in rural areas.
Serway, who herself has a son with autism, explains: ‘People are locking some of their children in because nobody wants to know. Even in families, people don’t want to be with you. Friends shun you . . . and you find yourself rather alone’. During 2016, Serwah and the AACT centre supported 1721 children with autism to participate in society on more equal terms - more than twice as many as in 2015.
This story is told by Camille, one of our Change Leaders in Denmark. She runs the mentoring program BeYou for children and young people living in socially vulnerable housing areas, to ensure that children there build up and maintain a feeling of self value.
When Silas arrived at his first session you could see that he was very nervous. At that time, he had no overall goal that he wanted to achieve in the program. Along the way, however, he started getting the courage to set intermediate goals for himself, like spending more time with his family, instead of isolating himself in his room. He also wanted to be a better student at school, avoiding getting into too many conflicts and he wanted to be more physically active. We talked a bit about what these three intermediate goals might lead to, and then Silas suggested that we could look at it, as if it was a cake recipe. The end result would be him becoming the real Silas, the way he feels on the inside, and the small intermediate goals were the ingredients needed in the recipe to get there.
The sessions are now spent on seeing how these intermediate goals are going – how far we have come in the recipe.
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