NEW YORK, 12 March 2004 – UNICEF today thanked IKEA for a gift of Euros 666,566 (approximately US $829,000) that will sponsor UNICEF programmes in Angola and Uganda supporting “Children’s Right to Play.”
In July 2003 IKEA introduced a Teddy Bear called “Brum” in its stores world-wide. Two Euros from the sale of each bear is donated to the UNICEF program. IKEA expected to raise a total of Euros 400,000 but sales have far exceeded expectations, resulting in a larger gift to UNICEF. The sales of Brum in support of UNICEF programs will continue for another 5 months.
The right of every child to play in a safe environment is captured in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child – the most universally adopted international treaty in history. But while the right to play may seem natural, millions of children are deprived of this vital element of human development due to conflict, disease, and exploitation.
“This is not about sending boxes of toys for children,” said Rudolf Deutekom, Director of UNICEF’s Private Sector Division, who welcomed the IKEA donation. “It’s about finding creative, play-oriented ways of reaching street children, children who are not in school, and children caught in conflict, and attracting them into constructive, healthy activities.”
In Angola, the IKEA contribution will be used to support outreach programs for the estimated 1.3 million children who are not in school. UNICEF and the Ministry of Education have launched a non-formal education effort that reaches street children. With the new funds, the program will reach 80,000 children in 13 provinces.
In war-torn northern Uganda, the new funds will support play-based programs for reaching at-risk adolescents about the threat of HIV/AIDS. Youth peer educators will be trained as part of the program, and will reach out to other young people in camps throughout the north, where young people are especially vulnerable to HIV infection.
“We’re grateful to IKEA for its ongoing support to child well-being, including the right to play and learn,” Deutekom said.
IKEA has supported UNICEF programs around the world for more than ten years, including a US $1.4 million contribution to support immunization and child protection programs in India over 5 years.
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For further information, please contact:
Ms. Marianne Barner, IKEA Group, tel. 46 42 26 71 25, email@example.com
Kate Donovan, UNICEF/New York, (1-212) 326-7452, firstname.lastname@example.org
Damien Personnaz, UNICEF/Geneva, tel. +41 22 909 5716, email@example.com