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IKEA Canada, Save the Children and UNICEF Launch Annual Soft Toy Campaign to Support Education for the World’s Most Vulnerable Children

2014-11-04

TORONTO, November 3, 2014 – Today, IKEA Canada, in partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF, is launching its 13th annual Soft Toys for Education campaign. The idea is simple: for every soft toy or children’s book purchased at an IKEA store during the campaign period – November 3, 2014 through January 3, 2015 - the IKEA Foundation will donate 
€1 (approximately $1.41 CDN*) to support children’s education programs.

Since the campaign began, donations have totalled €67 million (approximately $95 million CDN), helping more than 11 million children living in poverty in 46 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.

“IKEA Canada believes in the power of education to break the cycle of poverty and prepare children for a successful life,” said Stefan Sjöstrand, President of IKEA Canada. “We are honoured that each year the Soft Toys for Education campaign connects our co-workers and customers to such a meaningful endeavour to improve lives around the world.”

A love for reading opens the door to education, which is why, every year, IKEA creates a children’s book based on IKEA soft toy characters as part of the annual campaign. In this year’s book, “The Frog Prince,” young readers visit a fairy-tale forest and learn about the special bonds of friendship. The book is written by award-winning Swedish author Ulf Stark and illustrated by Silke Leffler.

This year’s new soft toy friends from The Frog Prince fairy tale world are:

  • TOSIG: the silly frog
  • LILLGAMMAL: the red-hooded rebel
  • PIPHARE: the wise hare
  • KATTUGGLA: the sweet owl

“Education drives development and empowers the most vulnerable and excluded children – especially girls. Through the continued support of IKEA Foundation and IKEA customers and co-workers worldwide, we can provide children with access to the education they deserve.  We are excited to kick off this campaign again in Canada and join forces to help build a brighter future for children, their families and communities worldwide,” said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.

“It is with great pride that we take part in the IKEA Soft Toy for Education campaign,” said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the IKEA Foundation Collaboration. “The funding means that Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation together invest in childhood. We are transforming the lives of children with disabilities and children of minority groups, the most marginalized children, in Eastern Europe and South East Asia. We’re providing access to quality education for millions of children, impacting on generations to come.”

“Investing in children’s education is the most powerful way to help them escape poverty,” said Per Heggenes, CEO IKEA Foundation. “Through IKEA’s Soft Toys for Education campaign, we have been able to improve the education of more than 11 million children through our partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF. Access to a quality education is key to help them create a better future for themselves and their families.”

*Currency conversion as of October 30, 2014.

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About IKEA Canada

IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 342 stores in 42 countries worldwide, which are visited by 776 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com websites attracted 1.1 billion 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 some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA 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 www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook/IKEAfoundation

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

About UNICEF
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.

For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.