The partnership between IKEA and UNICEF has worked towards providing a better live for over 74 million children in India.
The partnership was launched with a campaign in the state of Uttar Pradesh to promote children’s welfare, and was expanded to include the state of Andhra Pradesh in 2006, especially targeting the cotton industry to end child labor. In 2008, the partnership expanded to fifteen states with the aim to promote child rights, survival, growth and development. It is estimated that more than 28 million children are engaged in child labor and an estimated 4,700 children under the age of five die every day.
The philanthropic arm of IKEA, the IKEA Foundation, is the largest corporate cash donor to the 65-year-old United Nations humanitarian program, UNICEF. In the past ten years, these are some highlights of the partnership:
• 370,000 children screened for malnourishment, and 56,500 children treated.
• 2.14 million women were taught the benefits of breastfeeding their children.
• 32 million homes now have toilets, and 67 percent of schools have access to toilets, improved drinking water and hand washing facilities.
• Children in 13,120 schools benefit from newly trained teachers and better curriculum.
• 15,000 children in India’s cotton and carpet belts now go to normal schools after being taught basic reading, writing and math skills in bridge schools.
• 600 new Child Protection Committees set up to end child labor practices.
• More than 500,000 leaders, community members and officials trained to protect children
The work of the IKEA Foundation in India is even more remarkable when you consider that they do not yet retail their products in the country, though this might be changing soon.