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IKEA and its customers show soft spot for children

“1 euro is a fortune…” seeks to raise €5 million

NEW YORK, 16 December 2008 – In keeping with a tradition started four years ago, this holiday season the IKEA Social Initiative will use proceeds from the sale of IKEA soft toys to help finance education projects run by UNICEF and Save the Children.

As part of the “1 euro is a fortune…” campaign, which kicked off in November and will continue until 24 December, 1 euro from every soft toy that IKEA Group sells in its 258 stores worldwide will go to projects aimed to improve children’s education.

“Despite the current global economic downturn that has impacted both private enterprises and individual families alike, this pledge reflects IKEA’s belief that protecting children and securing their rights is an absolute priority and an important investment in the future,” said UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson. 

The great success of the IKEA Soft Toy Campaign has been driven by the commitment and enthusiasm of IKEA customers and staff. To date, UNICEF has received 8 million euros in support of 22 projects in 17 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Proceeds from this year’s campaign will benefit projects in China, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Moldova, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.

Most of these projects aim to make the school environment better adapted to children’s needs. They are part of UNICEF’s actions to promote the child-friendly school model where children feel safe, receive good quality education, have access to key services like water and sanitation, and are allowed to learn and grow in an inclusive, gender-sensitive environment. 

In Tajikistan, for example, funds will be used to establish 20 child-friendly schools in four districts, supplying 2,000 sets of school furniture and creating 210 reading areas.

IKEA Social Initiative is UNICEF’s single largest corporate donor. For more than 15 years, IKEA has supported UNICEF and children’s rights through community investments, advocacy, philanthropy, humanitarian assistance, sales of UNICEF greeting cards, cause-related marketing promotions and in-kind assistance.

“IKEA Social Initiative is very proud to contribute to UNICEF’s efforts to bring quality education to millions of children worldwide,” said Marianne Barner, Head of IKEA Social Initiative. “Through these projects we hope to change children’s lives at school and thereby helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, tel:  212 326 7452 e-mail:  kdonovan@unicef.org




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