Thank You IKEA customers and co-workers for supporting the IKEA Soft Toy for Education Campaign

Ten million children supported since 2003

TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Through the annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign IKEA customers and co-workers around the world raised $12.4 million last year to support UNICEF and Save the Children's work improving children's education in Africa, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.

The annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign ran from November to December 2012 in IKEA stores world-wide. For each soft toy or children's book purchased, $1 was donated to UNICEF and Save the Children by the IKEA Foundation.

"Our customers and co-workers take great pride in knowing that their soft toy purchase is going directly to a child in need, and will make a positive difference in their life," says Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA Canada. "On behalf of IKEA, thank you for continuing to support an inspiring program that betters the lives of children around the world."

Since the start of this annual campaign in 2003, the IKEA Foundation has raised nearly $76 million CAD which has helped improve education for more than 10 million children in 45 countries around the world. The donations help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve systems protecting vulnerable children, supply school supplies and increase school attendance rates.

Thanks to this year's donation, the IKEA Foundation will support 18 UNICEF and Save the Children projects in 17 countries: UNICEF will fund their Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools in Asia initiative in China. Save the Children will support education for marginalized children in Asia and Eastern Europe.

"We would like to thank the IKEA Foundation, IKEA co-workers and customers for their support of Save the Children's programs for children from minority groups and children with disabilities," says Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. "We look forward to continuing our work with IKEA and the IKEA Foundation on the Soft Toys for Education campaign next year."

"Heartfelt thanks from UNICEF to every person who bought an IKEA soft toy and to every co-worker who worked so hard to make the campaign a success," says David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. "The impressive support of the IKEA Foundation, millions of IKEA customers and thousands of co-workers worldwide is an excellent example of collective action that will bring positive and long-lasting change to children's lives."

This spring IKEA Canada is offering two IKEA co-workers the opportunity to visit a Soft Toy sponsored education program in either Asia or Africa to see the impact that funds raised from the Soft Toy campaign has on supporting education for vulnerable children around the world.


About IKEA Canada
IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 338 stores in 40 countries worldwide, which are visited by 776 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com websites attracted 1.1 billion visitors. Founded in 1943, IKEA's business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca.

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in developing countries 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 ikeafoundation.org.

About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization.  We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive.  We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief, and more. UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children, regardless of race, religion or politics.  As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization.  Our determination and our reach are unparalleled.  Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world's leading independent organisation for children, delivering programmes and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

SOURCE: UNICEF Canada

For further information:

about the IKEA Soft Toy campaign, please contact:

IKEA
Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick
Public Relations Manager
IKEA Canada
Madeleine.lowenborg-frick@ikea.com
905-637-9440 x6378

Save the Children 
Bryna Jones
Manager, Communications
Tel: 416-221-5501 ext 222
Email:
bjones@savethechildren.ca 

UNICEF 
Melanie Sharpe
416-482-6552 ext 8892
msharpe@unicef.oca