Peterborough Ikea worker backs campaign helping children across the world

Paula Cade (Ikea Sustainabilty Specialist) at Hokisa Primary School.'Ikea I-Witness trip to South Africa to see UNICEF education programmes supported by the Soft Toy campaign as a part of the UNICEF and Save the Children partnership.'Hazy View Area, South Africa. 14th August 2014. Picture by Jordi Matas

Paula Cade (Ikea Sustainabilty Specialist) at Hokisa Primary School.'Ikea I-Witness trip to South Africa to see UNICEF education programmes supported by the Soft Toy campaign as a part of the UNICEF and Save the Children partnership.'Hazy View Area, South Africa. 14th August 2014. Picture by Jordi Matas

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Thursday 1.30pm: A Peterborough resident is backing a campaign to help children in South Africa after travelling to see the scheme in action.

Paula Cade is hoping to make this year’s IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign the most successful yet following a visit to South Africa to see how money raised by IKEA customers is helping children gain a quality education and the hope of a brighter future.

For every soft toy purchased as part of the Soft Toys for Education Campaign between now and December 27, the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to support educational projects run by Save the Children and UNICEF around the world.

Since returning, Sustainability Specialist Paula, who was one of six employees on the trip, has been working hard to raise awareness of the how the campaign is supporting children by sharing her experience with customers and colleagues.

Reflecting on her experience, Paula said: “I feel inspired and humble to work for a company that is dedicated to working with people and communities, and encourages its co-workers to understand where the money they raise goes.

“The whole trip was so rewarding and seeing how we have contributed to a better every day for these children has changed my outlook on life. It has inspired me to create even more activities around the Soft Toys for Education Campaign, and to raise more money for the campaign than we’ve ever done before.”

Paula wants this year’s Soft Toys for Education Campaign, now in its 11th year, to be the biggest and best it has ever been. She also wants to help ensure that every child has the opportunity to turn their dreams and aspirations in to reality.

The IKEA Contact Centre is also looking to help closer to home and will be donating 500 soft toys to Peterborough City Hospital, Amazon Children’s Ward to provide furry friends to children in their care.

The week-long trip involved visiting several schools that UNICEF support. At these schools the sustainability ambassadors met children impacted by the campaign, and learnt about how the schools have become ‘Child Friendly Schools’.

‘Child Friendly Schools’ recognise that children have rights and works to fulfil them. This holistic approach addresses the challenges of educational access and quality through looking at the “whole” child, including his or her health, nutrition and overall wellbeing.

The schools provide meals, clean water and good quality education for every child, helping create safe and protective environments for children to learn and play.

The visit allowed the co-workers to gain a real insight into life and the education system in South Africa, as well as seeing first-hand the difference that UNICEF and the IKEA Foundation can make.