IKEA Foundation supports children in Haiti with €300,000 ($400,000) donation for Haitian schools

As the second anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake approaches, the IKEA Foundation helps to get education back on track.

BURLINGTON, ON, Jan. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Guided by its mission to create opportunities for children in developing countries, the IKEA Foundation has provided a €300,000 ($400,000) donation to Save the Children for a literacy program for Haitian children.  In total the IKEA Foundation has supported Haiti with over $1 million of in-kind and cash donations through its partners, UNICEF and Save the Children.

When the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, it damaged or destroyed 90% of the schools in Port-au-Prince and Leogane, and more than 60% of schools in the South and West departments. Even before the Haiti disaster, children's hopes of receiving a quality education were grim. Many classrooms had over 60 students, and only half of the children aged six to 12 attended school.

With the IKEA Foundation's donation to Save the Children there will be an increase in meaningful programs for improving children's literacy in Haiti. This includes learning kits and teaching aids to new teachers. Children will also get the basics like books, pens and pencils; items the children did not even have before the earthquake.

"Our aim in Haiti has been to help kids recover from the quake," explains Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, "but also to improve their reading and writing skills by supporting innovative new educational programs."

In addition to this donation, the IKEA Foundation also supported the relief efforts of Haiti, shortly after the earthquake, with over €500,000 ($670,000) worth of emergency in-kind support to UNICEF. This gift mainly consisted of thousands of towels and blankets for families left without homes who were forced to live in shelters.

Better access and quality
Save the Children is working closely with schools, Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and Haiti's Ministry of Education to improve girls' and boys' access to a quality education.

The program has set ambitious goals for the upcoming year.  By training 120 teachers, 20 school principals and ten school inspectors, as many as 4,000 children will benefit from this fresh approach to improving quality.  The program is also focusing on the importance of getting parents involved in the schools, with plans to motivate 200 parents to join PTAs and become advocates for education in their communities.

By working with partners like Save the Children and UNICEF, who have extensive networks and decades of experience, we are able secure top experts, develop innovative approaches, supply much needed support and comfort,  influence and navigate government policy, and achieve the critical mass it takes to make an impact for as many children as possible.

Long road to recovery
After suffering heartbreak and upheaval, families in Haiti will be putting their lives back together for years to come. Improving children's education is one way the IKEA Foundation can help. Having supported Haitian families immediately after the earthquake with in-kind donations from IKEA, the Foundation is also supporting programs that will benefit children and their families long into the future.

For more information about Save the Children:  http://www.savethechildren.net

About the 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: home, health, education and family income. Currently funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org.

Image with caption: "Institut Abellard, Leogane Haiti: First grade students Anderson Jean Marie and Christopher Pierre recite a song in their class. Institut Abellard is made up of eight classrooms with an average of 30 children per class. Save the Children built the school, the latrines and the hand washing station and provided, furniture and education kits. Save the Children is also providing teachers here with training. (CNW Group/IKEA Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120111_C3191_PHOTO_EN_8808.jpg

Image with caption: "Institut Abellard, Leogane Haiti: Rose Carme Evenéta Clerveau, 10 years old, lost her sister and cousin in the earthquake. Because she has seen people suffer she told us that she wants to become a doctor. "I would like to do many things in life-I would like to be a doctor-because I would like to take care of people. I don't like to see people suffer." (CNW Group/IKEA Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120111_C3191_PHOTO_EN_8810.jpg

Image with caption: "Jacmel, Haiti: A woman carries a bucket of water from the Save the Children water distribution point to her tent section in Pechinat Camp, in the South-East city of Jacmel, Haiti. Millions of people were displaced by the earthquake and children were left highly vulnerable. (CNW Group/IKEA Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120111_C3191_PHOTO_EN_8812.jpg


For further information:

Jonathan Spampinato, Head of Communications, IKEA Foundation
Tel: (+31) 61 175 6336

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