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Henok works with vulnerable children on the streets of Addis Ababa.

Henok is a social worker at a centre for street children supported by Save the Children in the Ethiopian capital.

"Children come to Addis for different reasons," Henok says. "The main driving factor is poverty, so many come for survival. But some children are escaping abuse or are being trafficked."

Many children and families in rural areas don't know about the hard life that awaits children who migrate to the city. Going to the big city is seen as an opportunity, an escape from poverty and a path to a better life.

The importance of play.

Together with counselling and education, play is an important part of the centre's work, to prepare the boys for a better life away from the streets.

"On the street, they miss all basic things," Henok explains. "And if a child is not enjoying themselves, or playing with their friends, their future life is not bright. Here at the centre they can play and through this learn a lot of things about themselves and others. They start to believe again that they have a future."

Thanks to funding from IKEA's campaign Let's Play for Change, the centre now has the capacity to host 28 boys at the time. The boys are given the opportunity to play, to catch up on their education and they have a safe place to stay. Staff work to reunify the children with their families if possible, or to find other guardians, so they can be reintegrated in their communities.

Find out more about I Play, I Learn and I'm Safe.
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