An inclusive community

Niclas Karlsson-Järnkrok

It is Friday already. After four beautiful and intensive days we are about to summarise our trip before heading back to the airport and the flight home to our families in the Netherlands. We are leaving Philippines a lot richer. We have made new family members that forever will stay in our hearts.

Group photo in the day of the medical assessment. Photo: Ella, Save the Children

Group photo in the day of the medical assessment. Photo: Ella, Save the Children

The truth is that it has been a little bit of an emotional roller coaster, experiencing the reality that about 30% of Filipino families are currently living under the poverty line. Although these are really tough conditions, we have met more energy, drive, happiness and love than you can ever imagine. A culture where the family is in the centre and where everything is possible—together. This culture also so open, leaving us with a strong feeling of belonging…and being included.

Saskia doing a home visit. Photo: Ella, Save the Children

Saskia doing a home visit. Photo: Ella, Save the Children

It is amazing how much you can widen your view and learn in just a week.

Kasali means “included” in Tagalog.

The Kasali project is focused on quality and inclusive pre-school and elementary school for very young children with disabilities. As we, together with parents, teachers and social workers, have learned as part of this project:

Impairment + barriers = disability

By taking away barriers such as lack of supporting tools or stigmas in the society, Save the Children, together with their partners, is making a great impact in these children’s and families’ lives. The future outlook for all these children would have looked completely different without this project. Through our experiences this week we found out they would most likely be bound to a life at home, a life without education, progression & friends. Not able to join school and, as a real consequence, not being part of the community.

The Kasali project also helps by taking the parents out of isolation, offering a community where experiences and feelings can be shared. Where help can be found. As a base, the project also gives a lot of practical support. A parent we talked to was carrying her daughter 1km to school every day before the project supported her with a wheelchair.

Selfie with Niclas and Criztal, four years old. Photo: Criztal Sablayan

Selfie with Niclas and Criztal, four years old. Photo: Niclas Karlsson -Jarnkrok

Experiencing the work that Save the Children is doing in the field, with such a strong connection to the IKEA values of openness, togetherness and willpower, leaves a great feeling of pride and engagement. Feeling engaged will help us to work even harder together to create even more impact in the future. We are really grateful for the work Save the Children is doing together with the IKEA Foundation here in the Philippines and we are now personally committed to continue to be bigger supporters, ambassadors and contributors. We believe that our biggest task right now is to bring all of you, dear colleagues, with us!

A big thank you to Save the Children Philippines for your work and for the fantastic organisation of our week. Thank you to the IKEA Foundation for giving us this unforgettable opportunity. Also a big thank you to Wendy Flik, from Save the Children Netherlands, who accompanied us through our complete journey. Last but not least, a big thanks to YOU, for your continued efforts in our Good Cause campaigns for the future.

Our friends in the Daycare Centre, Lower Barangay Paranaque. Photo: Ella, Save the Children

Our friends in the Daycare Centre, Lower Barangay Paranaque. Photo: Ella, Save the Children

Niclas Karlsson-Järnkrok

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Niclas Karlsson-Järnkrok

My name is Niclas & i work as Sales manager in Service Office since almost 3 years. I have been with IKEA for 13 years and before coming to the Netherlands worked in Portugal & Sweden where im also originally from. For me, one of the main reasons working for IKEA for so many years, is that we have a very strong purpose in creating a better life for the many. I feel really privileged to see part of all what we are doing in the Philippines during next week and will really do my best to share this experience with all of you.... and my own two children, 7 & 5 years old, that are curiously waiting for me at home.

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