IKEA launches the "Soft Toys" campaign in support of UNICEF
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21 December 2010, Beijing – IKEA stores in China today launched the "Soft Toys" campaign for 2010 to raise funds for UNICEF. Since the collaboration started in 2003, more than US$700,000 has been raised for a variety of UNICEF's programmes in China. This year's campaign will once again generate donations from IKEA for UNICEF's early childhood development programmes.
UNICEF announced that with the campaign funding it will start a new three year initiative to expand training opportunities for 145,000 early learning teachers across ten provinces, which will eventually benefit 3 million children. During the campaign RMB 10 is contributed to UNICEF by IKEA for each soft toy sold. Last year US$276,000 was raised through the campaign.
The Soft Toys campaign is a global partnership between IKEA, UNICEF and Save the Children which has raised a total of more than US$ 30 million for education in developing countries since 2003.
The campaign kicks-off during a month when China's State Council announced historic new initiatives to invest in and support the expansion of early childhood education programmes for all of China's young children.
"China has the word's largest population of pre-school aged children - more than 100 million…Pre-school education has emerged as new need for education equality and a major issue concerning the welfare and interest of people.” State Councillor Madame Liu Yandong said in early December.
UNICEF's pilot programmes on early childhood development and advocacy for improved policies were part of the driving forces that finally led to the new national programmes. In the past decade, UNICEF has been working with the Ministry of Education to pilot early childhood development programmes in 29 counties of ten provinces, mostly in the lesser-developed rural areas with large ethnic minority populations.
"It is particularly exciting that this year's campaign kicks-off just as China has announced far-reaching reforms and extensive budgetary support for establishing early childhood education as a guaranteed part of China's education sector," Dale Rutstein, Chief of Communication for UNICEF China said at the launch.
"UNICEF's partnership with the Ministry of Education has played an important role in supporting these recent developments and as UNICEF's key donor for early childhood education and development, IKEA's support has helped to create the models on which China's new programmes will be based."
The Soft Toys campaign will run in IKEA stores throughout China from 23 December 2010 till 13 February 2011.
UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.
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