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IKEA and UNICEF Programmes Reach 74 million Children in India


IKEA Foundation and UNICEF release results of the first decade of their partnership promoting children’s rights to education, improving childhood survival, and fighting the root causes of child labour in India.

TORONTO, September 5, 2012 - Throughout the month of September, IKEA and UNICEF will celebrate over ten years of working together to help over 74 million children in India create a better future for themselves and their families.  

The partnership was launched with a pioneering campaign to promote children’s rights in the carpet belt in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.  In 2006, the partnership  was extended to include projects to end child labour in the cotton-producing state of Andhra Pradesh.  In 2008, with an aim to promote child rights, child survival, growth and development, the partnership expanded across 15 states of the country where more than 28 million children are  engaged in child labour and an estimated 4,700 children under the age of five die every day.

“By working together for the past 10 years, and contributing more than €100 million to UNICEF projects in India so far, we have created opportunities for more than 74 million children,” explains Per Heggenes, CEO at IKEA Foundation. “By thinking long-term and teaming-up  with UNICEF, we’re giving hope to many millions of families.”

”IKEA’s leadership has made a lasting impact in the lives of children around the world,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. ”More children are getting the nutrition they need to survive and thrive, more children have access to safer water and better sanitation, and more children are learning in schools instead of being exploited in illegal labour. UNICEF looks forward to the next decade of this remarkable partnership with IKEA.”

In collaboration with the Government of India, some of the results of this partnership in India over the past 10 years include:

Health and Sanitation: combating malnutrition, poor water and sanitation.

  • 370,000 children screened for malnourishment and 56,500 children treated.
  • 2.14 million women were  taught the benefits of breastfeeding their children.
  • 32 million homes now have  toilets, and 67 percent  schools have access to toilets, improved  drinking water and hand washing facilities.

Children’s Rights and  Education: providing quality education, fighting child labour.

  • Children in 13,120 schools benefit from newly trained teachers and better curriculum.
  • 15,000 children in India’s cotton and carpet belts now go to normal schools after being taught basic reading, writing and math skills in bridge schools.
  • 600 new Child Protection Committees set up to end child labour practices.
  • More than 500,000 leaders, community members and officials trained to protect children.

A detailed Progress Report is available online

IKEA Foundation and UNICEF are working together to promote children’s rights and tackle  the root causes of child labour in several Indian states. Through IKEA’s well-known Soft Toys for Education campaign, the IKEA Foundation also supports UNICEF’s Schools for Africa and Schools for Asia programmes.


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

About IKEA

IKEA offers well-designed and functional home furnishings at affordable prices. Founded in Sweden in 1943, the IKEA Group today has 287 stores in 26 countries and 131 000 co-workers committed to our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people. Care for people and the environment is integrated in every step of the business. IKEA continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children or the environment. For more information, please visit


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, 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.

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