IKEA Canada launches 13th annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign in support of UNICEF's and Save the Children's global education programs

This year's limited collection of soft toys features unique designs by children from around the world and are available in stores from November 2 to December 26, 2015

TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - IKEA Canada kicks off its annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign in stores across Canada today. For every soft toy or children's book sold from November 2, 2015 to December 26, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 (approximately $1.45 CDN*) to UNICEF and Save the Children to provide quality education to children living in poverty in developing countries.

Last year IKEA FAMILY invited children of customers from around the world to design their dream soft toy. Ten winners were chosen from thousands of entries and their designs were used to develop the new limited collection of soft toys named SAGOSKATT.

"These soft toys are truly fun and imaginative, but they also have a special meaning. As IKEA Foundation donates €1 per sold soft toy to UNICEF and Save the Children, this means that children are helping children to build a better future for themselves," said Bodil Fritjofsson, IKEA Sweden's product developer.

Over the last 12 years, the Soft Toys for Education campaign has raised nearly €77 million, or CAD $116 million, helping more than 11 million children through 99 projects in 46 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.

"IKEA Canada believes in the power of education to break the cycle of poverty and prepare children for a successful life," said Stefan Sjöstrand, President of IKEA Canada. "Our annual Soft Toys for Education campaign inspires and engages our customers and co-workers to support education programs that truly improve lives around the world."

The drawing competition will be organized again during this year's Soft Toys for Education Campaign, giving even more children the opportunity to design their dream soft toy for a good cause.

"Investing in a child's education provides the foundation for lasting peace and sustainable development. Thanks to our long-standing partnership with IKEA Foundation and support from IKEA customers and employees both in Canada and worldwide, millions of children have benefitted from access to quality education," said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. "Let us continue to build on these achievements to ensure more children are given a fair chance in life through education."

"Giving children with disabilities and children of minority groups access to a quality education is empowering children, families and communities in creating a better and brighter future. Through the IKEA Foundation's commitment to helping marginalized children, and with invaluable support from IKEA's employees and customers around the world to fulfill children's right to quality education, we are impacting generations to come," said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General for Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson for Global Lead Agency for the IKEA Foundation Collaboration.

About IKEA Canada
IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 361 stores in more than 50 countries worldwide, which are visited by 821 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 1.6 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 some of the world's poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programs that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA 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 programs benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook/IKEAfoundation

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivering programs 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.net and www.facebook.com/savethechildren

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.

For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.


Image with caption: "IKEA Canada kicks off Soft Toy campaign to spread the power of education featuring a new selection of kid designed IKEA soft toys. (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151102_C3844_PHOTO_EN_534230.jpg

For further information: For further information about the IKEA Soft Toy campaign, please contact: IKEA Canada: Tanya Bevington, Corporate Communications Manager, Tel: 905-637-9440 x6224, E-mail: tanya.bevington1@ikea.com; Save the Children: Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, Tel: (416) 221-5501 x 295, E-mail: kharris@savethechildren.ca; UNICEF Canada: Tiffany Baggetta, Tel: 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, E-mail: tbaggetta@unicef.ca


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