TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov 7, 2012) - IKEA Canada is launching its ninth annual IKEA Soft Toys for education campaign across Canada. From now until December 29th the IKEA Foundation will donate one dollar of every Soft Toy purchased at IKEA stores in Canada to support UNICEF and Save the Children''s programs educating vulnerable children around the world.
"At IKEA, we believe every child has the right to a healthy and secure childhood that includes access to a quality education," said Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA Canada. "IKEA Canada''s Soft Toys for Education campaign continues to be an inspiring program that engages our customers and co-workers every year because it continues to improve the lives of children around the world."
Funds donated this year will reach the most vulnerable, marginalized children including ethnic minorities and children living with disabilities and special needs in more than 15 countries in Asia and Africa including: Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.
"Last year, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of Canadians, who contributed more than $450,000 to the IKEA Soft Toys campaign," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. "Those donations helped us train teachers, supply educational materials like pencils, books and bags, and rebuild schools."
New to this year''s soft toys family are forest friends from the VANDRING series, which includes a hedgehog, a bear and an owl hand puppet, that encourage curiosity and caring about nature among children. The new toys are created from different VANDRING textiles, designed by Ann-Cathrine Sigrid Ståhlberg.
Since 2003, donations from the annual IKEA Soft Toy Campaign have totalled over $61 million CAD, helping 8 million children in more than 45 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.
"Last month world leaders rallied together in a final push to meet the global commitment to ensure access to primary education for all children," said David Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF Canada. "IKEA, the co-workers and customers who have supported the Soft Toys campaign are helping to make this important goal a reality."
Through the "Global iWitness Citizenship Program" IKEA Canada will also offer two IKEA co-workers the opportunity to visit a Soft Toy sponsored education program in either Asia or Africa. The program''s goal is to provide co-workers with the opportunity to see first-hand the impact the Soft Toys campaign has on supporting education for vulnerable children around the world.
About IKEA Canada
IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 325 stores in 40 countries worldwide, which are visited by 734 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 11 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com websites attracted 904 million visitors. Founded in 1943, IKEA''s business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca.
About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in developing countries by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child''s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at ikeafoundation.org.
UNICEF has saved more children''s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief, and more. UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children, regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.
About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world''s leading independent organisation for children, delivering programmes and improving children''s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children''s mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.