As part of the Growing Together project, supported by the IKEA Foundation, Handicap International promotes early detection, stimulation, and rehabilitation sessions for children to prevent the onset of disabilities and improve their living conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Pakistan. Our teams teach parents, caregivers, and community volunteers how to stimulate young children and promote healthy habits through play and daily activities.
Handicap International has implemented community mapping in refugee camps, including Nayapara camp in Bangladesh. Our teams asked 25 community members to identify the most vulnerable people–older adults, pregnant women, and people with disabilities–to ensure that no one is left behind. Those vulnerable individuals as well as parents to children with disabilities then took part in Growing Together activities. We also implemented community mapping in the village of Balukhali with help from members of the community.
Handicap International trained more than forty community volunteers in three refugee camps on the border with Myanmar. The volunteers learned proper hygienic care for children, what foods to feed them, and how to encourage them to play. Seventeen volunteers were trained in child’s rights and protection and risk recognition, so they can better understand how to protect children in any situation. They also learned how to refer child victims of violence to partner organization offering these services.
In refugee camps, including the Peshawar camp in Pakistan, Handicap International helps fathers, mothers, and caregivers understand the importance of play and stimulation in the development of their children. They also learn how to stimulate children from infancy. “A stressed child, or a child who grows up in fear, cannot learn and develop,” explains Alexey Kruk, regional coordinator of the Growing Together project. “His or her psychological and emotional well-being are of the utmost importance, notably through interaction with his or her family and by playing regularly at home."
GROWING TOGETHER PROJECT
Growing Together is a four-year project in Thailand, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and is funded by the IKEA Foundation. Handicap International is creating inclusive spaces where children can come together–through play–to work through some of the challenges they face, especially children with disabilities. In addition to inclusive playgrounds, Growing Together will target the youngest children who are at risk of developmental problems. Simultaneously, the program will engage local child development service providers and help them become more responsive to the needs of boys and girls with disabilities and other vulnerable children. Learn more about the partnership.