During this past 2014 holiday season, millions of IKEA customers and co-workers around the world participated in the IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign. Through their purchase of soft toys and children’s books, the IKEA Foundation will donate $11.9 million* (EUR10.1 million) to UNICEF and Save the Children for educational projects.
Since 2003, the IKEA Soft Toys for Education program has been focusing on providing quality education to vulnerable children living in poverty in developing countries. To date, it has improved education for more than 11 million children in 46 countries and raised $102 million (EUR77 million).
This year’s campaign ran from November 9, 2014 to January 3, 2015. For every soft toy and children’s book sold, the IKEA Foundation donated one euro ($1.18)* to UNICEF and Save the Children to train teachers, improve child-protection systems, provide educational materials, and increase school attendance in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Thanks to this year’s donation, UNICEF will continue to fund UNICEF education programs through the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools for Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s share will support education for children with disabilities and those from ethnic minority groups in Asia and Europe.
In the US, IKEA stores also had a local impact with a give twice campaign. Customers were given the opportunity to purchase soft toys for their local US store charities resulting in almost 18,500 soft toys donated.
“We are grateful for our partnership with IKEA, and thankful for all the support that IKEA employees and customers gave to this year’s successful holiday campaign. The funds raised will provide learning to children who are often overlooked in school, or who are entirely left out of the education system. Together, we can create a better and brighter future for them,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.
“All children should have the opportunity to go to school,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “UNICEF works to provide access to a quality education to the most vulnerable children, including those that have been affected by emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Thanks to the IKEA Foundation, IKEA customers and invaluable support from IKEA co-workers, more children will have the opportunity to continue their education, helping to build a brighter future.”
The funding will be used for a wide range of educational activities, even helping children continue to learn when disasters strike. For example, over $1 million ** (€880,000) of last year’s donation is supporting UNICEF’s efforts to help children in Sierra Leone learn remotely via radio programs while their schools are closed because of the deadly Ebola outbreak; the money is also helping children and families get the lifesaving information and support they need to survive.