Hello, Vietnam!

I’m Tatiana, and I work for IKEA in Russia as a PR Specialist.

I’m now in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, where three of my colleagues and I came to witness how the money we raise during the Soft Toys for Education campaign helps create a better life for children. Our colleagues from Germany and great partners from Save the Children, who make it all happen, will be with us during this trip.

IKEA Russia is one of the major contributors to the Soft Toy campaign worldwide. Last year we sold 1,180,213 soft toys, which means that we helped the IKEA Foundation donate 1,180,213 euros to Save the Children and UNICEF. We are really proud of it; we are proud that we can help children in need and give them at least a small chance in life.

Today we met our partners from Save the Children, who briefed us about the projects they lead in Vietnam. The projects that are supported by the IKEA Foundation are aimed at ensuring access to education for children who belong to minority groups and those who live in poor highland provinces. An amazing number of people – 13 million – belong to minority groups in Vietnam. They do not speak the official Vietnamese language, and their kids do not have an opportunity to get any education because they simply do not understand the teachers. Literally, they cannot read, write and count in the country’s official language. They are sentenced to stay in their small remote villages, use out-of-date agricultural technology and go hungry. Generation after generation.

With the support from the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children helps address this problem. They arrange training for the teachers on bilingual and active teaching. They also adapt curricula, print books, create libraries, and build and renovate schools. Tomorrow we will visit some schools and see how it helps.

But even now I can imagine 6- and 7-year-old children going to school ten kilometers away from their village, hungry because it is more important to feed parents who work in the fields, totally confused because they can hardly understand the teacher… Studying is not an easy thing to do even for we who have full stomachs and go to warm, bright schools. Studying seems to be a quite a feat for these small children .

Alina, Mariya and Tatyana wait for the train that will take them to Lao Cai province
Alina, Mariya and Tatyana wait for the train that will take them to Lao Cai province