The results are in and we can announce that the global IKEA Soft Toy campaign raised an amazing €12.4 million (that’s about £10.3 million!) in 2011.
That means that since the campaign began in 2003, IKEA have raised €47.5 million (almost £40 million) for Save the Children and UNICEF, enabling more than 8 million children around the world to gain access to a quality education they otherwise would not have had. That is huge!
Celebrities and teddy bears
In the UK, IKEA stores across the country showed their support and enthusiasm for the campaign holding celebrity book readings, teddy bear’s picnics and treasure hunts to help drum up support.
Sophie Ellis Bexter joined staff and customers at the flagship Wembley store to read stories to excited children before they ran off around the store (in an orderly and well-behaved manner of course!) to follow the treasure hunt which would win them a free Bjorn Bear toy.
Through sales of soft toys, children’s books and children’s meals during the campaign period, IKEA stores in the UK raised an impressive €762,000 (around £630,000).
But it’s not really about the numbers, its about the difference this money can make to a child’s life. A child like eight year old Tung.
When Tung was just four years old, his parents left to find work. Now he lives with his grandparents in a small village in rural Vietnam where they speak a local language. This means Vietnamese is a second language for Tung, which makes fitting into mainstream education a daunting prospect.
“My cousins often skipped school,” Tung says, explaining what made him wary. “They didn’t understand what the teacher was saying. I really wanted to go to class, learn new things and see friends but I was afraid I was going to be like them.”
That was before Tung joined Save the Children’s bilingual learning programme for disadvantaged children from minority groups, supported by the IKEA Soft Toy campaign.
Today, Tung is in the third grade and his teachers say he’s an excellent, hardworking, and confident student who’s eager to help classmates with their studies.
Thousands of other children from minority groups are also getting the chance to receive an education thanks to IKEA’s campaign and their customers who have supported it year after year.
Thank you to everyone who bought a soft toy, book or child’s meal at IKEA during the 2011 campaign.
Coming soon to an IKEA store near you… Soft Toy 2012!