Today’s post kicks off my Gifts that Give Back series that will run through the holiday season. My love of art was nurtured all throughout my upbringing by teachers, mentors and my peers in school. In 6th grade one of my teachers entered one of my drawings into a small local art competition, and when I won just an honorable mention, it gave me the confidence to pursue a life in the arts. Without a complete and well rounded education though, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
It’s easy to forget how lucky we are when it comes to something we feel is so basic, like sending our kids to school. We have so many choices… private, charter, Montessori, public, etc. But for many children in developing countries the chance to learn and play in a safe and protective environment is still out of reach. The IKEA Foundation is working to change that. They believe every child has a right to a quality basic education, and that’s why they started their IKEA Soft Toys for Education program. From November 9th to January 3rd, for every soft toy or book that is purchased from IKEA stores, they will donate $1.00 to Save the Children and UNICEF.
The IKEA Foundation has been running this program during the holiday season since 2003 and results are being felt in many countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Since 2003, more than 11 million children have been impacted through 99 projects in 46 countries with a total amount donated at $90.4 million (67 million euro).
In Mozambique, thanks to the IKEA Foundation’s contribution of IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign funds, 55,000 children in 88 schools were reached with the five components of the Child-Friendly Schools approach: education; protection; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and social mobilization. Children in these schools also received physical education and were trained in important life skills (HIV awareness, awareness on gender issues, and preventing violence and sexual abuse).
To find out more about the good work the proceeds from IKEA Soft Toys for Education is doing around the world, visit the IKEA Foundation. Even if you don’t have any little ones on your list this year, spread the word by pinning or sharing some of the images above and linking back here or to the IKEA Foundation. We can make a difference for children around the world together.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.