To me, IKEA is not only a popular retail store but, in my opinion, one that provides modern, cost-effective, home furnishing solutions. The IKEA vision statement on their website is, "To create a better everyday life for the many people. We make this possible by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them." In addition they believe that "children are the most important people in the world, and every child has a fundamental right to a quality education." I've wandered through IKEA so many times and always knew that they had solutions for really unique children's bedrooms furniture and decorative pieces like corner swings. However, I think in that place in the store I've been so wowed by their furniture, I overlooked many of their soft, plush toys, and that was truly a huge oversight on my part, especially during the holiday season.
At an event I recently learned about the IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign. It debuted in 2003. In November and December, the biggest holiday months, 1 Euro from every IKEA soft toy purchase is donated to charity. The IKEA Foundationcurrently works with 2 charities, Save the Children and UNICEF, and the funds raised are split between the 2 organizations at the end of the year. To date, $61.75 million dollars has been raised to help over 8 million children worldwide to provide them with not only tangible classroom materials like pencils, books, and bags, but entire schools have been developed with better water and toilet facilities. Training is an important part of their initiative to educate both teachers and family members. 18 projects within 16 countries have been implemented, with a collective effort to invest in both the physical and educational needs of children to reduce malnutrition and disease while improving literacy.
So the next time you wander the IKEA store, especially during the holiday months of November and December, make sure to stop and take a look at their soft toys for infants, pretend play sets, and stuffed animals for older children. Some of the infant toys are as inexpensive as $1.99, while the larger, softer plush toys are only $14.99. There are animals, velcro vegetable sets, fruit baskets, dessert sets, bears, dogs, bunnies, cats, leopards, elephants, circus animals, finger puppets, building blocks, baby dolls, cars and even vegetables. So stock up on birthday gifts for the upcoming year, or gather 1 last purchase to add to a holiday gift or stocking. The funding donated from this initiative will be donated to make the world a better place helping disadvantaged children and their families.