IKEA Canada customers raised more than $500,000 for Save the Children and UNICEF to provide quality education to children living in poverty in developing countries

As part of a global campaign, more than 12 million children now have better educational opportunities through IKEA Foundation, Save the Children and UNICEF partnership

TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, IKEA Canada announces its results for its annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign where for every soft toy or children's book sold from November 2, 2015 to December 26, 2015, the IKEA foundation donated €1 (approximately $1.56 CDN*) to Save the Children and UNICEF to provide quality education to children living in poverty in developing countries.

"At IKEA, we recognize that every child has the right to an education and through the Soft Toys for Education Campaign we're having a significant impact educating the world's most vulnerable children," said Stefan Sjöstrand, President, IKEA Canada. "The success of this campaign is due to the ongoing engagement of both our customers and co-workers along with the incredible work that both Save the Children and UNICEF do."

IKEA Canada also took this opportunity to give twice and positively affect our local communities, toy drives took place across the country with stores making donations to their local charities. To further encourage the act of giving, as part of our annual Share to Donate social media campaign, IKEA Canada was able to donate more than 1000 Soft Toys to CTV Toronto's Toy Mountain to distribute toys to those less fortunate.

More than 12 million children in more than 46 countries have better schools, teachers and learning materials, thanks to a 13-year partnership between the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children and UNICEF. Since 2003, the IKEA Foundation's 'Soft Toys for Education' campaign has contributed €88 million to Save the Children and UNICEF, helping to increase school attendance for some of the world's most marginalized and vulnerable children. Funds have also helped train teachers, provide educational materials and improve child‑protection systems in schools and communities.

"Save the Children is extremely grateful for the partnership we have with the IKEA Foundation and the support we receive from IKEA employees and customers around the globe. Together, we have made an enormous difference for children with disabilities and children from ethnic minority groups, and Save the Children will not rest until all children have the opportunity to learn. Education is a human right and provides children with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive. It also saves lives, protects and builds peace," said Patricia Erb, President & CEO, Save the Children.

"We are so grateful for the continued and invaluable support of the IKEA Foundation, IKEA co-workers and customers for the commitment they've shown over the past 13 years to help transform children's lives through education," said UNICEF President & CEO David Morley. "Every child deserves the opportunity to go to school and learn so that they may build a better future for themselves and their families. No child should be denied this opportunity because of poverty, disability, gender, conflict or disaster."

Although the Soft Toys for Education campaign has ended its successful run, the IKEA Foundation will continue its commitment to UNICEF and Save the Children through ongoing grants in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia in the areas of education, early-childhood care and development, child protection, adolescence and humanitarian response.

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world's poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes 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 a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation.

About IKEA Canada
IKEA is a leading home furnishing retailer with 375 stores in more than 50 countries worldwide, which are visited by 884 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores, an eCommerce virtual store, Pick-Up and Order Points in Quebec City, QC and London, ON with four additional Pick-Up and Order Points opening spring 2016. Last year, IKEA Canada welcomed 25 million visitors to its stores and 75 million visitors to the IKEA.ca website. 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 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. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world's most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

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: "Children study together at a child friendly primary school in Mozambique (Photo credit: ©UNICEFNYHQ2006-2264PIROZZI) (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160118_C6263_PHOTO_EN_599777.jpg

For further information: IKEA Canada, Stephanie Kerr, Corporate Press Officer: Tel: 905-637-9440 ext. 6378, E-mail: stephanie.kerr@ikea.com; Save the Children, Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, Tel: 416-221-5501 ext. 295, E-mail: kharris@savethechildren.ca; UNICEF Canada, Tiffany Baggetta, Tel: 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, Email: tbaggaetta@unicef.ca


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