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Photo Essay - IKEA-UNICEF Partnership: Celebrating 10 years in India
" For over 10 years, the IKEA Foundation has been supporting UNICEF’s work in India to end child labour and create a better future for India’s children. By the end of 2012, we will have donated more tha "

For over 10 years, the IKEA Foundation has been supporting UNICEF’s work in India to end child labour and create a better future for India’s children. 

By the end of 2012, we will have donated more than €100 million to UNICEF in India, reaching 74 million children with programmes to help break the cycle of poverty.

The IKEA Foundation is UNICEF’s largest corporate donor and, through our long-term work together, we are able to see sustainable and lasting change in the lives of millions of children and their families.

Helping children go to school instead of work

An estimated 414,000 children are working in India’s cotton industry. Around half are under 14 years old and almost 90% don’t attend school. The IKEA Foundation supports UNICEF projects addressing the root causes of child labour, raising awareness of the importance of education, and supporting schools, communities and officials to end child labour and ensure children go to school.

PHOTO 2: Preventing anaemia in young girls

Anaemia affects a large number of adolescent girls in India, impacting their growth and ability to learn – which reduces a woman’s productivity and earnings later in life. Yet prevention is as simple as taking iron folic acid (IFA) supplements.  With the IKEA Foundation’s support, UNICEF has been distributing IFA supplements since July 2008 and has reached 2.8 million girls.  

 Donating solar-powered lamps

Lack of electricity in some parts of India means that many children are unable to study when darkness falls, having a lasting impact on their future opportunities. To help ensure children can continue their education, the IKEA Foundation has donated over 90,000 Sunnan solar-powered lamps through UNICEF. 

Preventing childhood deaths from diarrhoea 

Thousands of children in India die each year from diarrhoea and its complications. 88% of global deaths from diarrhoea are entirely preventable. The IKEA Foundation funds UNICEF projects in Bihar, offering simple treatment of zinc tablets and oral rehydration salts, and basic health information. At least 15,000 children have received the treatment to date. 

Improving nutrition for babies

Jharkhand is one of the poorest states in India, with 54% of children under three malnourished. The IKEA Foundation funds a UNICEF project providing around 9,000 female health and childcare workers across the state to support 1.3 million families. Improving breastfeeding practices helps give children a healthier start in life.  

Working to end child labour

The IKEA Foundation supports UNICEF’s work towards eliminating child labour.  In 2010, IKEA CEO Mikael Ohlsson visited Rajasthan, where more than 3 million children aged 5–14 work. There he met women involved in UNICEF’s project and found their hopes were the same as mothers around the world. “They want the best for their children and that they go to school.” 

Empowering women to create healthy communities 

Munni Begum belongs to a 16-member strong volunteer woman’s empowerment group, which is helping clean up her neighbourhood and promote proper hygiene and immunisation programmes.  The IKEA Foundation funds a UNICEF project that trains women like Munni to ensure children have a healthy start in life. 

Educating families about children’s rights

The IKEA Foundation supports UNICEF’s child rights model, which helps educate families and communities on the importance of a child’s right to education and a happy childhood. Fourteen-year-old Nagamani is a member of the child rights group in her village in Andhra Pradesh. With other local groups, she has been successful in stopping early marriage and ensuring children are attending school. 

Combatting the spread of malaria

Since June 2007, the IKEA Foundation has funded a UNICEF project that works with the National Rural Health Mission, the Directorate of Health Services and the Government of Assam on an initiative to combat malaria. The programme bundles maternal health services with new long-lasting insecticidal bed nets, ensuring mothers and children can avoid malaria.  


Making schools child-friendly 

Getting children not just to enroll in school but to stay there is a major challenge in rural India.  Bad infrastructure, poor teaching and lack of resources do not help. The IKEA Foundation funds a UNICEF project that helps teachers develop their skills and improves school infrastructure, helping ensure more children complete their education.  

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