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Health Authority receives funds to improve living conditions for First Nations children

Four Arrows Regional Health Authority (FARHA) will be receiving approximately $100,000 next month to help improve living conditions for First Nations children and youth in the Island Lake region of Manitoba.

The donation comes from the $500,000 IKEA Canada fund to support vulnerable communities across Canada in recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.

Health Authority receives funds to improve living conditions for First Nations children

The FARHA would not have been able to ensure that First Nations children have a safe place to grow, learn and play, without the help and guidance of Save the Children, an organization committed to helping vulnerable children.

“When the opportunity arose and IKEA reached out to us about their COVID-19 response work, we connected with the FARHA to see what priorities were urgently needed by the children and youth in the community,” said Lewis Archer, Program Manager at Save the Children Canada.

“With COVID-19, people are spending much more time indoors. In Garden Hill First Nation, housing and infrastructure are chronically under-funded. There are lots of children living in very small spaces with multiple generations.”

Save the Children has worked with the FARHA for three years now with work mostly focusing on the well-being and the rights of youth and children. They have coordinated a program with the FARHA to meet the needs of children within that area.

“We are working with the FARHA to understand which children within the community have the highest need and what exactly those households need whether it be home repairs or figuring out study space for children, and taking that assessment to IKEA to leverage some of their expertise,” said Archer.

“We are trying to repurpose and redesign homes for children to make the crowded living environment a little bit easier,” he added.

Both parties want to alleviate some of the struggles that come with living in cramped conditions and making sure children in those homes are safe.

“Getting refurbished furnishing is hard because of the high cost of living in the north and also with transportation as we are a fly-in community. It is very hard to get these items for our families,” said Tyrone Munroe, the Wellness Regional Manager of the FARHA on Tuesday.

“For example, one household may have two to four families living under one roof. That is one of the challenges we face in the north, and the funding is something that would be beneficial for the community.”

Once the FARHA receives the funding, they will be going around the community, surveying and doing assessments to see which families are in critical need to have their home refurbished.

“Resources are limited in our region, and there are a lot of challenges that we face so I just hope that we can help them by providing more resources,” said Munroe.

The IKEA Canada fund will also support other organizations in Canada as well such as the National Association of Friendship Centres, Black Health Alliance, Boys and Girls Club of Canada and Furniture Bank.

Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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