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IKEA, UNICEF Programs 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 Child Survival, and Fighting the Root Causes of Child Labor in India

NEW YORK (September 5, 2012) — Throughout the month of September, IKEA and UNICEF will celebrate ten years of working together to help more than 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 labor 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 labor 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 $125 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 labor. UNICEF looks forward to the next decade of this remarkable partnership with IKEA.”

In collaboration with the government of India, IKEA Foundation and UNICEF India have contributed to some of the following results over the past decade:

Health and Sanitation: Combating Malnutrition, Poor Water and Sanitation

  • 370,000 children screened for malnutrition 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% of schools have access to toilets, improved drinking water and hand washing facilities.

Children’s Rights and Education: Providing Quality Education, Fighting Child Labor

  • 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 school after being taught basic reading, writing and math skills in bridge schools—special schools that help children formerly in the labor force re-enter the school system.
  • 600 new Child Protection Committees set up to end child labor 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 labor 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 programs.

About IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in developing countries by funding holistic, long-term programs 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 programs benefit an estimated 100 million children.
Learn more at www.IKEAfoundation.org.

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 www.IKEA.com.

About UNICEF

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 additional information, please contact:
Andrea Sioris, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136, asioris@unicefusa.org
Marci Greenberg, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2464, mgreenberg@unicefusa.org

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