LEIDEN, The Netherlands, July 25, 2013 /CNW/ - In an innovative
collaboration, the IKEA Foundation is donating a range of IKEA toys to
UNICEF's Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits to help meet the needs
of some the most vulnerable young children in the world.
Over the next two years, the kits will be distributed to an estimated
1.2 million children living in emergency or post-conflict settings.
UNICEF's ECD kit was designed for children under the age of six living
in these difficult circumstances. It aims to focus attention on the
needs of young children and to support the development of play and
learning under extreme conditions.
The IKEA Foundation has committed to provide eight toys from the current
children's range sold in IKEA stores worldwide for each kit. The toys,
with an estimated value of US$2 million, are a donation to UNICEF and
will be used in 24,000 ECD kits that will be distributed around the
world over the next two years. The kits will help to ensure that some
1.2 million children will have more opportunities for a better start in
When young children are caught up in conflicts or emergencies, the
opportunity to experience childhood can be lost. A staggering two
thirds of the world's child population, 1.5 billion children, live in
countries affected by crises. With the ECD kits, caregivers can use
materials that help to create a reassuring and safe learning
environment for children living in such situations.
Each of the IKEA products was chosen by UNICEF's educational
specialists. The items include a shape sorter, a sort and stack set,
finger puppets, hand puppets, school scissors, coloured building
blocks, a paper pad and paper roll. It is estimated that 12,000 kits
will be required annually by the UNICEF offices that implement
programmes for children in conflict situations and emergencies.
"Research shows that early childhood is the most critical time for brain
development. With the additional help of toys such as those donated by
the IKEA Foundation, children can develop their cognitive, verbal,
visual, auditory and social skills," said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF
Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships. "Each of the IKEA
toys was chosen to stimulate and engage the minds of young children.
The toys are part of a treasure box that makes up the ECD kits, and
help restore a sense of hope and normalcy to children living in
extremely difficult environments."
"Providing these IKEA children's products is another way for the IKEA
Foundation to support UNICEF in their special efforts to reach out to
vulnerable children who have been caught up in disasters or
emergencies," says Per Heggenes, IKEA Foundation CEO. "We believe that
the selected IKEA products can help where the need is the greatest and
hopefully bring some smiles back to these children's faces."
The innovative kit packed with the IKEA products is showcased in the
2014 IKEA catalogue.
For more than 10 years, the IKEA Foundation has been a key partner and
supporter of UNICEF's work, based on a shared commitment to realizing
the rights of all children. Since 2001, the IKEA Foundation has donated
and pledged more than US$200 million to UNICEF in cash and in kind, and
today the IKEA Foundation is UNICEF's largest corporate donor.
About the IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth
in the world's poorest communities 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 by 2015. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org.
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children
survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The
world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF
supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality
basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children
from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the
voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and
governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.
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Image with caption: "The IKEA Foundation helps UNICEF bring the gift of play to children affected by emergencies around the world (CNW Group/IKEA Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130726_C9641_PHOTO_EN_29272.jpg
SOURCE: IKEA Canada
For further information:
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