IKEA and IKEA Foundation get the world playing to support children’s rights

Play is a fundamental right for all children. That’s why IKEA and IKEA Foundation are teaming up with six leading children’s rights organisations and putting play at the heart of a new good cause campaign: Let’s Play for Change, starting on Children’s Rights Day 20 November.

The campaign will support children’s development and learning, equal participation, sports, and of course, play. For every children’s book and toy sold between 20 November and 24 December, the IKEA Foundation will make a donation of EUR 1 to support children’s right to play and develop in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. The IKEA Foundation’s partners in this campaign are Handicap International Federation, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF and War Child. The programmes supported by the campaign focus on children affected by dissabilities, the Syrian conflict, unsafe migration, and poverty.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Children states that every child should have the right to play. Sadly not every child enjoys this right. Millions of children are on the move, making them vulnerable to discrimination, violence, abuse and exploitation, according to a play insights document released by IKEA Foundation today. The insights also revealed that children with disabilities are often the most likely to be excluded from play and learning activities.

 “Many children around the world lack safe spaces to play. War and disasters are forcing more children than ever before to flee their homes and make difficult and dangerous journeys. Many more miss out on the chance to play because of poverty and prejudice. Children suffer the most in a crisis situation, and we are committed to upholding and raising awareness of their rights.” Per Heggenes, CEO of IKEA Foundation.

In IKEA stores around the world children can enter a drawing competition. Ten winners will have their drawings turned into real soft toys, as part of a limited collection SAGOSKATT– designed by kids, for kids. Everyone is also encouraged to join the campaign by playing the mobile game HOPP, which allows the gamer to create spaces to play in the virtual world. HOPP is free to download at ikea.com/HOPP.

Let’s Play for Change builds on the success of previous IKEA good cause campaigns, which have raised €118.8 million, since 2003. This is the biggest IKEA good cause campaign yet – with more products and more partners than ever before.

Words from the IKEA Foundation’s partners

Handicap International Federation—in Pakistan, Thailand and Bangladesh

Provides Early Childhood Development opportunities to children with disabilities and other vulnerable children in displacement settings.

Cheryl Shin-Hua Yeam, Handicap International regional technical coordinator said:

“Children in refugee camps come from difficult backgrounds, having fled war and violence, facing poverty and poor health conditions. Play is an important tool for them to work through these issues and to be a child. Therefore we want to create inclusive communal spaces where vulnerable children feel safe and can develop through play.”

Room to Read—in Bangladesh and Indonesia

Transforms the lives of children through a high quality of education that includes teacher training, provision of learning materials and developing children in both literacy and reading.

“Room to Read will bring the joy of reading and a love of learning to tens of thousands of children in government schools in Bangladesh and Indonesia”, said Erin Ganju, CEO and co-founder of Room to Read. “Our innovative, data-driven, and cost-effective Literacy Program will effect systemic change in hundreds of communities through the establishment of libraries, training of teachers, and the capacity development of local authors and illustrators to publish locally-relevant and engaging children’s books.”

Save the Children—in Bangladesh and Ethiopia

Prevents unsafe migration of children by promoting protection, education and play for children on the move.

“Save the Children is giving children on the move a chance of a better future. The IKEA Foundation, with support from IKEA employees and customers worldwide, helps us fulfill children’s right to protection, education and play. Children on the move are highly vulnerable and our program intends to deliver lasting improvements to their lives.” Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the IKEA Foundation partnership.

Special Olympics—in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Thailand

Promotes, through sports and play, inclusion and development of children with intellectual disabilities.

Mary Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Special Olympics said.  “It is shocking and disheartening to note that the majority of children with intellectual disabilities have little to no access to valuable services and educational opportunities, which often entrenches them and their families in a cycle of poverty and social isolation, which ultimately, hinders their human development.  The Special Olympics Young Athletes program, a sports-play program designed to promote motor, social and cognitive development and inclusion for children with intellectual disabilities, offers children the opportunity to learn inclusive play in a safe environment.  Thanks to our partners at the IKEA Foundation, we are able to grow our Young Athletes program and reach more children, impact more families and further break down the perceptions that exist for children with intellectual disabilities.”

UNICEF—in China, India, Indonesia and Kenya         

Provides safe spaces, education and health support for children aged 0-8 to ensure early childhood development in some of the poorest communities.

When the brains and bodies of young children are protected, nurtured and stimulated they have the best possible chance of developing fully, learning effectively, and contributing to their economies and societies when they reach adulthood. Thanks to the Let’s Play for Change campaign, we can reach even more children in China, India, Indonesia and Kenya with nurturing care programmes and help young children grow up in the enriching environments they need for optimal development.” said UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development Pia Rebello Britto.

War Child—in Jordan and Lebanon

Provides a safe environment to play, learn and develop for children in Jordan and Lebanon who have been affected by the Syrian conflict.

Tjipke Bergsma, Managing Director War Child Holland added: “War is not a child’s play. Every child should have the right to play with its peers in a safe space. Thanks to the IKEA Foundation 18,000 Syrian and vulnerable local children in Jordan and Lebanon will be able to play, reclaim their childhood and rebuild their future after years of violence.”

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In collaboration with
War Child

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In collaboration with

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In collaboration with
Special Olympics

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In collaboration with
Save the Children

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In collaboration with
Room to Read

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In collaboration with
Handicap International