Record results of charitable campaign held by IKEA and UNICEF – a serious step towards inclusive education development in Russia
According to statistics, a soft toy is one the most widespread, but at the same time, the most cordial presents. Both children and adults like soft toys, and they often turn from inanimate objects of play and interior into “a talisman that brings luck”. In 2010 more than one million soft toys became a chance for full-fledged life and education for children with disabilities in different Russian cities.
The press-conference on the results of charitable campaign “Let’s make the world softer” annually held by IKEA and UNICEF took place at “RIA Novosti” press-centre on the 10th of February. The action which was held from the 1st of November till the 31st of December raised unbelievable funds – almost 50 million rubles (more than 1.2 mln euro)! The cooperation between UNICEF and IKEA demonstrates clearly that corporate social responsibility is actively developing is Russia. It is gratifying that there are so many not indifferent people – IKEA customers – who are ready to respond whole-heartedly to the problems of children who need special care.
Per Wendschlag, the Head of IKEA in Russia, and Bertrand Bainvel, The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative, shared their opinions on corporate social responsibility development and society responsibility to children with Russian journalists.
“We held this action with a light heart – comments Per Wendschlag, the Managing Director of IKEA in Russia, – and the result exceeded all our highest expectations. This year the charitable contribution of Russia will be larger than the contribution of any other country in the world, including those countries that have far more IKEA stores, and standard of life in them, on the whole, is higher than here. Our customers and employees helped us to raise a record sum, almost 2 million rubles, during the period of only two months. And we are going to use this money in such a way that every Russian child in future could grow in comfort conditions, study and communicate with peers, because children are the main people in the world”.
The raised funds will be directed to the development of inclusive education in Russia. Currently there are about 500,000 children with disabilities in Russia, 17,000 of them have no access to education, almost 150,000 children with developmental peculiarities and disabilities are forced to leave their families and live in boarding schools where they receive special education separately from their peers.
Inclusive approach to education gives a child with special needs an opportunity to grow and develop together with his peers, attend common kindergartens and schools. The experience of many years shows that in case of individual approach to every child and appropriate training of teachers the whole society benefits: the child with disability develops adequately, other children learn to live in a versatile world, where everyone matters.
“The partnership with IKEA is of great importance for us, because IKEA is the major UNICEF donor in Russia and in the world. It is nice, that the raised funds will let us not only help the existing projects, but also, what is rather important, ensure the experience dissemination among childcare institutions in other Russian regions. We will be able to train even more specialists of educational sphere, to explain the importance of inclusiveness to much more parents, and, most importantly, we will be able to give even more children the opportunity to exercise their right to learn and develop equally with their peers" – said UNICEF Representative in Russia Bertrand Bainvel.
В Российской Федерации ЮНИСЕФ сотрудничает с партнерскими организациями для обеспечения права каждого ребенка расти и воспитываться в семье, продвижения здорового образа жизни, создания инклюзивного общества, где все дети могут пользоваться всеми своими правами и не подвергаться дискриминации, независимо от происхождения, социального статуса, состояния здоровья или физических возможностей.