TORONTO, March 5, 2012 /CNW/ - The IKEA Soft Toy campaign in support of UNICEF and Save the Children raised more than $16 million this year to help realize every child's right to quality education.
The IKEA Foundation donates 1 euro for each soft toy sold in over 300 IKEA stores worldwide from November 1 to December 31. Since 2003, the campaign has generated more than $61 million helping more than 8 million children in 40 countries.
This year Canadian consumers contributed more than $450,000 - the most raised in Canada since the campaign began.
"We would like to thank IKEA, the IKEA Foundation as well as IKEA staff and customers for making this year's Soft Toys campaign so successful," says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley. "Thanks to you, 5.5 million children in Africa will receive a better education."
UNICEF and Save the Children will implement 18 projects in 16 countries with this year's donation. UNICEF's share will go to Schools for Africa projects in seven countries and two projects in Russia and China; and Save the Children's share will support education for marginalized children (minorities and children with disabilities) in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines) and Eastern Europe (Lithuania and Romania).
The donations will help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, supply educational materials like pencils, books and bags, rebuild schools and provide better water and sanitation facilities and increase school attendance rates.
"This record breaking goal would not have been reached without our customers," said Kerri Molinaro, President, IKEA Canada. "I want to personally thank our customers for helping us take a step towards creating a better everyday life for children in need around the world."
"It's wonderful that this year's campaign was such a huge success," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. "Having worked in the field for more than 20 years, I know how important this funding is for the children and I would like to thank IKEA, its staff and everyone who bought a soft toy over the course of the campaign."
The IKEA Foundation believes all children should have access to quality education. Today 69 million children are denied this right worldwide. UNICEF and Save the Children improve education for the most disadvantaged children, recognizing investments in education lift children out of poverty and benefit future generations.
About IKEA - IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 325 stores in 40 countries worldwide, which are visited by 734 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 11 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com websites attracted 904 million 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 the opportunities for children and youth by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change, and enable them to take charge of their own future. We work with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child's life. Currently funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org
About Save the Children - Save the Children is the world's leading children's rights organization, with 29 national Save the Children offices and operational programs in over 120 countries. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. We deliver immediate and lasting improvements to children's lives worldwide. For more information about Save the Children please visit: http://www.savethechildren.ca
About UNICEF - UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we secure children's rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world fit for children. UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information please visit: www.unicef.ca
For further information about the IKEA Soft Toy campaign, please contact:
905-637-9440 ext 6378
Save the Children
416-482-6552 ext 8892