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Ikea boosts education donations to check poverty

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-07 08:10

Sweden's home-furnishing giant Ikea Group is to donate one euro ($1.07) to United Nations Children's Fund and Save the Children, from every soft toy or children's book sold from its 18 stores in China until Feb 11.

The company's Ikea Foundation said it has so far raised some 77 million euros worldwide, creating 99 charity programs which have supported more than 11 million children in 46 countries.

In China it claims the soft-toy sales idea helped generate 798,740 euros for those two organizations last year.

"The best way to fight children's poverty is by prioritizing education," said Per Heggenes, CEO of the foundation.

"We hope to create a sound educational environment for all school children, whether they are disabled or of ethnic groups. All children deserve equality in education."

Hua Nan, China representative for UNICEF, said the first few years are crucial to a child's physical, emotional and psychological well-being.

"Along with the Ikea Foundation, and collaboration from Ikea's customers and its employees, we have expanded our services to some of the remotest regions of the country to help with the early development of children."

Elisabeth Dahlin, secretary-general of Save the Children in Sweden, said offering educational help to disabled children and children from ethnic communities will create a better future for everyone and make a lasting impact for generations to come.

Ikea staff have also been participating with donations and visits to schools and communities.

"My lasting impression of such visits is that the children we visited treat us like their teachers," said one employee who asked not to be named.

"We all really hope we can sell more soft toys this year to help more children."

Last year Ikea organized a global painting competition, too, in which it invited children from all over the world to draw their dream soft toys.

After collecting hundreds of sketches, Ikea selected 10 finalists and put their ideas into production, which became part of the company's "SAGOKATT" soft-toy collection.

Bodil Fritjofsson, an Ikea product developer and designer, described the winning designs as "creative and fun" but with even deeper meaning.

"It means children themselves are helping disadvantaged others enjoy a better future."

wangzhuoqiong@chinadaily.com.cn

Ikea boosts education donations to check poverty

Representatives from UNICEF, Save the Children and Ikea Group demonstrate the soft toys for sale at a recent press conference in Beijing.Provided To China Daily

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