Monday, December 6, 2010
My favorite stuffed animal from my childhood was a light-blue bear that I dubbed, Bear. Not the most creative name but I was nine-months-old so cut me some slack.
Bear was my best friend for two reasons. One, he always took my side in an argument with my mother. And two, he was always open for a hug.
The ever-innovative geniuses at IKEA are behind a new initiative to make stuffed animals not just cute, cuddly and good listeners, but advocates of universal education.
In real life they don’t actually make signs, give speeches or march on Washington but the impact is just as powerful. (Disclaimer: No, they are not alive either.)
In October, four IKEA employees and two IKEA customers traveled to Vietnam and Bangladesh, respectively, to see first hand the problems facing children, their families and communities and the difference that the money raised by the IKEA soft toy campaign is making.
To say the least, they were all wowed:
Here are some quotes from the video that capture the impact that education can make in children’s lives.
“Investing in education sounds fantastic, but it’s not until you’re here and you see on the ground the difference its making and the positive ripple effect that it has on communities that you understand the difference that’s being made.”
-Keith McLeish, IKEA Edinburgh
“Our children are studying, so their prospects are so much better.They are mixing with good people and are confident and safer.”
-Mother of Bangladeshi student
“Even to get to school some kids have to travel 10-15 kilometers, and it’s not by car. They have to walk. So even getting to school is a challenge…If that challenge is met by the children then it should be met by us.“
-Nigel McGarry, IKEA Belfast
So in honor of my old chum Bear, who now resides in the attic, join the soft toy movement and help every child realize their right to education.