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IKEA Thanks Its Customers and Co-workers! IKEA Soft Toys For Education 2012 Campaign Raises $12 million* (€9.3 million) for UNICEF and Save the Children

Ten Million Children Supported Since 2003, And Nearly $74 Million* Raised (€57 Million)

Submitted by: IKEA

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Jan 29, 2013 – 12:21 PM EST


CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Jan. 29 /CSRwire/ - The IKEA Foundation, along with IKEA customers and co-workers, have partnered together on a $12 million (€9.3 million) global donation to UNICEF and Save the Children for projects that will help create opportunities for children to have access to a quality education.  

Thanks to this year’s Soft Toy for Education 2012 donation, The IKEA Foundation will support 18 UNICEF and Save the Children projects in 17 countries. UNICEF’s share will fund the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools in Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s equal share will support education for children in the most marginalized groups in Asia and Eastern Europe. The donation is made by IKEA Foundation and is directed to UNICEF and Save the Children.

In the US, IKEA raised over $1 million through the sales of soft toys and children’s books. The campaign began with an IKEA Random Act of Life Improvement give away of thousands of soft toys in local IKEA store markets to help build the soft toy spirit and campaign awareness; giving children access to a quality education. 

Since 2003, the start of this annual campaign, the IKEA Foundation has raised nearly $74 million* (€57 million), which has helped improve the educational opportunities of more than 10 million children in 45 countries. The donations help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials, and increase school attendance rates.

The annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign ran from November 4- December 29, 2012. For each soft toy or children’s book purchased, $1.30 (€1) was donated to UNICEF and Save the Children by the IKEA Foundation. 

”We would like to thank both the IKEA Foundation and IKEA co-workers and customers for their support of Save the Children’s programs for children from minority groups and children with disabilities. We look forward to continue our work with the Soft Toys for Education campaign together with IKEA and the IKEA Foundation next year,” Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General and Chairman of the Save the Children Sweden.  

“Heartfelt thanks from UNICEF to every person who bought an IKEA soft toy and to every co-worker who worked so hard to make the campaign a success. This year’s generous donation will help us support quality education for some of the most vulnerable children in the world. The impressive support of the IKEA Foundation, millions of IKEA customers and thousands of co-workers worldwide is an excellent example of collective action that will bring positive and long-lasting change to children's lives,” Leila Pakkala, Director, Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF said.

*€1 equals approximately $1.30 US


Thanks to this year’s donation, the IKEA Foundation will support 18 UNICEF and Save the Children projects in 17 countries: UNICEF’s share will go to fund the Schools for Africa initiative projects in eight countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, South Africa, Malawi) and one project will fund the Schools for Asia initiative in China.

Save the Children’s share will support education for children of the most marginalised groups (minorities and children with disabilities) in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines) and Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Romania and Kosovo). 

The donations from the IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign will help train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials like pencils, books, bags, rebuild schools and provide better water and toilet facilities, and increase school attendance rates. More than 10 million children will be educated in eliminating discrimination and stigma.

  • In Madagascar, 400,000 children between the ages of six and ten are out of school. Of those that are in school, 15% will begin their education in incomplete schools, or schools that offer only 2 or 3 years of the complete 5-year primary cycle.  The support of IKEA to the Schools for Africa initiative has been critical to help UNICEF increase the access to quality primary basic education.
  • In Mali, 200,000 children are learning in healthy and child friendly spaces.
  • In Burkina Faso, mothers have established support groups to help tutor children; because some parents are unable to read or write, they are very grateful that their children have this additional help.
  • Save the Children will develop and manage a project in Romania which aims at reducing discrimination against the two most vulnerable groups of children: Romanian children, and children with mental health problems. Multiple stakeholders are targeted, and educational and health services will be developed for the direct benefit of vulnerable children and their families.
  • In Indonesia many children with disabilities don’t attain their rights. Mobilization will occur for communities, government stakeholders, and others to assist these children attaining their right to enjoy a full and decent life. Save the Children will accomplish this by increasing the capacity of families to care for their children with disabilities and improving the access to high quality education.
  • In Bangladesh there are approximately 7 million children with disabilities who are extremely vulnerable to violence and exploitation. Save the Children will be able to give 4,400 boys and girls with disabilities in three districts of Bangladesh, improved mental and physical well-being through improved protection. The project works with their caregivers, communities, school authorities, and children with disabilities themselves.

About IKEA

IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 340 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 stores in the US (40 stores are owned and run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group). IKEA Stores welcomed a total of 776 million visitors last year. IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings company, incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to

About the IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation aims to improve the opportunities for children and youth by funding holistic, long-term programs that can create substantial, lasting change, and enable them to take charge of their own future. We work with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life. Currently funded programs benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children. 30 national organizations are working together to deliver programs in more than 120 countries around the world Save the Children’s vision is 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. For more information, please visit


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit


For more information, please contact:

Mona Astra Liss IKEA Corporate PR Director
Phone: 610.834.0180 ext. 5852
Eileen Burke Save the Children Senior Director, Media and Communications
Phone: 203.221.4233
Andrea Sioris U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Phone: 212.880.9136


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