The single, most effective path out of poverty worldwide is the opportunity for an education. Why? Education transforms lives. Education directly affects children’s well-being: kids not only gain the obvious knowledge and skills to bring to the workplace, but they have better health, better sanitation, and better chances of avoiding diseases such as preventable, water-born illnesses. When a child begins, and stays in school, he or she not only changes the course of their own life, but that of future generations.
When we traveled to Ethiopia, we saw firsthand the need for schools in the rural areas. Teachers and orphanage directors spoke with us about the importance of enrolling children into a school at a young age, and encouraging families to make the sacrifices to maintain them in school. Often times, the schools fees are beyond the means of the families, forcing families to choose which children will attend schools, and which will begin working at a young age.
The IKEA Foundation is the largest global corporate donor to Save the Children and UNICEF, funding projects that include helping to improve children’s education. In Ethiopia for example, the funding from the Soft Toys for Education campaign has helped increase the enrollment rate of children into grade 1 of primary education, which has now reached 92%. The gross enrollment rate for pre-primary schools achieved a significant increase of 15.9 percentage points. Over one year, it went from one in 20 children to one in 5 children getting enrolled in pre-primary school. A very encouraging trend!
For every soft toy and children’s book sold between November 9, 2014 and January 3, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro ($1.30) to children’s education through UNICEF and Save the Children. Last year, the IKEA Foundation raised $13.6 million (10.1 million euro) and over $1 million was raised in the US. This year, they will probably go over $100 million in total contributions since 2003.
Your donation for education transforms lives: it will help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials in the schools, help rebuild schools, provide better water and toilet facilities, and increase school attendance rates.
As your out and about doing your shopping this holidays, consider picking up some of these adorable stuffed animal heroes from IKEA, and help further education for a child in need!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.