Ingvar Kamprad started IKEA in 1943. An entrepreneur since childhood, he started his company at the age of 17, from the reward his father gave him for succeeding in studies. IKEA originally sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewelry and nylon stockings. Furniture was introduced in 1948, and today IKEA is one of the leading home furniture brands.
But what’s really amazing about this Swedish company is their philanthropic side. For more than 10 years, IKEA Foundation has been working with UNICEF to help kids all over the world. It has been focusing on India especially and have reached out to more than 74 million kids and their families. 56,500 children have been treated for malnourishment, 600 new Child Protection Committees have been set up to end child labour and much more (see more at: http://unicef.in/CorporatePartner/1/IKEA). Thanks to their efforts, more and more children are going to school, learning the basic alphabet, developing interest in basic math and coming one step closer to reading this 🙂
And these are not even the most latest of achievements!
It has been actively working in India to break the cycle of poverty, empower women and help the youth to get all opportunities they would otherwise be deprived of. It has contributed over 168 million euros to India through it’s various partners like UNICEF, Save The Children, Landesa etc.
One entirely unique approach they have towards this is the Soft Toys For Education campaign. Since it’s inception 13 years ago, this campaign has raised more than 77 million euros, reaching more than 11 million children over 46 countries.
For each toy or children’s book sold at IKEA stores the foundation donated 1 euro to Save The Children and UNICEF to improve education for poor children.
Now here is the fun part, the IKEA foundation, invites the customer families’ children to design their dream soft toy. Each child comes up with their own perfect toy, letting their imagination run wild and having tons of fun in the process . Out of those entries, ten winners are chosen by the foundation and become a pattern for a new soft toy collection, the SAGOSKATT. These limited edition toys are sold at their stores in November and December to generate money to help fund education for more and more children. Check out the video at their official site http://www.ikeafoundation.org/help-us-make-education-possible-for-all-children/
This year, the foundation hopes to help more kids with their SAGOSKATT collection.
Not only does it promote education, it contributes with the UNICEF to make Indian children and mothers aware about hygiene and cleanliness. And everyone knows that a nation with an informed generation is a nation that progresses.
This initiative by the IKEA foundation shows that the will to help is found inside our own hearts. That no one can compel you to make a difference other than your own self. This Swedish company, sitting in the northernmost part of the world, having one of the most humble of beginnings, has not forgotten it’s part to society. And it is making a big difference to our society, our country, our world.