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IKEA gets the world playing to support children’s rights
November 23, 2016, 4:40 pm

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. 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.

“Play is super important. Not just for children, but for adults too! It sparks creativity, and helps us learn and develop. In partnership with the IKEA Foundation, Let’s Play for Change has the potential to change the lives of thousands of children around the world.” Ahmad Al Humaidhi, Store Manager of IKEA Kuwait.

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.

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

Words from the IKEA Foundation’s partners

Cheryl Shin-Hua Yeam, Handicap International regional technical coordinator said: “Children in refugee camps come from difficult backgrounds. Therefore we want to create inclusive communal spaces where vulnerable children feel safe and can develop through play.”

Erin Ganju, CEO and co-founder of Room to Read said: “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.”

“The IKEA Foundation, with support from IKEA employees and customers worldwide, helps us fulfill children’s right to protection, education and play”, said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the IKEA Foundation partnership.

Mary Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Special Olympics said: “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.”

“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.

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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