IKEA & IKEA Foundation, UNICEF and partners launch the ‘Let’s Play for Change’ initiative for children

NEW YORK, 18 November 2016 – IKEA Foundation today launches its ‘Let’s Play for Change’ initiative in collaboration with UNICEF and partners to raise funds and promote the role of play in helping young children reach optimal brain development.

Experiences and external influences play critical roles in the formation and development of children’s brains, yet millions of children are deprived of the protection, stimulation, nutrition, and care they need to develop fully.

Between 20 November and 24 December, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro for every children’s book or toy sold in IKEA stores. Money raised through ‘Let’s Play for Change’ will help UNICEF reach nearly 60,000 young children in China, India, Indonesia and Kenya with nurturing care programmes.

“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,” said UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development Pia Rebello Britto. “Thanks to the Let’s Play for Change campaign, we can reach even more young children with nurturing care programmes and help them grow up in the enriching environments they need for optimal development."

The initiative forms part of the IKEA Foundation’s Good Cause campaign, which supports early childhood development and helps give children inclusive access to play and sport. The funds from the campaign support the work of Handicap International Federation, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF and War Child.
 
“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, ” said Per Heggenes, CEO of IKEA Foundation.

During the earliest years of life a child’s brain has the potential to activate 1,000 brain cells every second. Brain connections serve as the building blocks of a child’s future, defining their health, emotional well-being and ability to learn.

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About UNICEF
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.au
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For further information, please contact:
Tania Dhakhwa, UNICEF Geneva, +41 22 909 5243, tdhakhwa@unicef.org
Nicole Lawrence, UNICEF Australia, +61 419 748 624, nlawrence@unicef.org.au