IKEA & UNICEF together to help children in Croatia
450 packages to support early learning for children from socially disadvantaged families
IKEA supported UNICEF's action aimed at helping preschool children from vulnerable families in Međimurje County and donated 7,600 toys, books, picture books and accessories for drawing and colouring worth more than HRK 320 thousand. Thanks to donation from the company IKEA Croatia and in collaboration with Međimurje County, schools and kindergartens, UNICEF delivered 450 packages to pre-schoolers from socially disadvantaged families, as these parents need additional support to create a stimulating family environment.
In Croatia and worldwide, UNICEF is committed to ensuring that children from the most vulnerable social groups have equal opportunities as their peers. This particularly applies to early education, which is crucial for the success in a child’s later schooling. In the early and preschool age, simple activities such as reading a picture books helps develop pre-reading and pre-numerical competencies, colouring and drawing help develop graphomotor skills, while board games and soft toys help develop emotional skills. Play as such is an important part of growing up, learning about yourself, the others and the environment, and in this way, it encourages the development of a healthy and happy child.
“For us at IKEA, children are the most important people in the world and we always strive to contribute to the most beautiful childhood of all children, and we are especially sensitive to the needs of children from vulnerable groups. We want to support them on their educational journey and thus help them create a better future for themselves and their families. We are aware that the crisis caused by the coronavirus has further increased the pressure on many families and that is why we have decided to support the UNICEF project. We believe that, with the help of donated didactic toys, children from Međimurje County will master some new skills and be prepared even better for future school assignments", said Hrvoje Dragušica, expert in sustainable development of IKEA Croatia.
The crisis caused by the pandemic has brought new challenges for preschool children, especially those from vulnerable groups, who do not yet attend kindergarten or preschool. For that age, in times of crisis, there was no educational program on television or the Internet, as it was for the older schoolchildren. Without proper preparation for school, children are at risk of falling behind other students at the very beginning of their schooling. By sending packages that include toys and early learning accessories, UNICEF wants to provide preschool children with access to educational and developmental content, which is currently not available to them.
Representative of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, Regina M. Castillo, pointed out: “Children's lives and their education must not be neglected due to the crisis and in these challenging times it is our duty to do everything possible to protect them. UNICEF launched this action to provide support to families who are particularly disadvantaged due to their life circumstances and the crisis, by helping them create an environment for a happy upbringing and healthy development of their children. We are extremely grateful for the great contribution of IKEA Croatia, which has, by recognizing the importance of UNICEF's activities, provided a significant support to the most vulnerable children in Croatia.”
Letters of appreciation came to UNICEF from the users from Međimurje: “Although a child needs both of us and we do not exclude each other, we are rarely all together - educator, parent and child. Neither am I as an educator a direct witness to his parenting, nor is the parent present during my work with the child. The child is the only witness of our roles in growing up. Through our long and quality cooperation in the development of UNICEF programs and projects, we are jointly focused on the promotion and protection of children's rights."- reads the message of gratitude received by UNICEF on this occasion.