Plagued by civil war for decades, South Sudan will mark the start of its third year of independence on Wednesday, July 9. The renewed violence in December 2013, however, highlighted the fragility of the world’s youngest state. Children are confronted daily with the consequences of conflict and violence, and are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Schools have largely been destroyed, severely limiting children’s access to education. With support from the IKEA Foundation, War Child is creating Safe Spaces where children and young people in South Sudan can play, learn to read and write, and access vocational training. The Safe Spaces will ensure that children and young people in South Sudan are not permanently left behind by conflict.

 

Through War Child’s Safe Spaces, children and young people can access catch-up education and vocational training. They will have a place where they can feel safe and participate in creative activities, such as art and role-plays that help them reflect on their experiences and express their emotions. They can improve their ability to read and write, and gain skills to support themselves economically. Through life-skills activities, they learn to cope with the consequences of conflict, improve their confidence and self-esteem, and rebuild a positive outlook on the future.

 

Jonathan Spampinato, Head of Strategic Planning and Communications: `The IKEA Foundation believes that all children deserve a quality education, so we are supporting War Child’s creative approach to education so that the children of South Sudan can break the cycle of poverty and war`.

 

Through the support of the IKEA Foundation, War Child will help 3,340 children gain essential literacy and numeracy skills and improve their psychosocial well-being. In addition, 858 young people will develop vocational skills, and 3200 parents, caregivers, and child protection professionals will come together to ensure the well-being and protection of their children.

 

War Child is an independent non-governmental organisation investing in a peaceful future for children affected by armed conflict. Using a participative and creative approach, War Child helps children cope with their conflict-related experiences, protects children from the consequences of armed conflict and facilitates access to quality education. War Child works in partnership with local organisations and is active in ten countries including Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. For more information about War Child, go to www.warchildholland.org or www.warchild.ca

 

The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org.