IKEA provides soft toys to children in cyclone-affected Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar (Nov. 6, 2008) - Save the Children is distributing 200,000 IKEA soft toys to children in Myanmar as part of its relief effort to assist children and families affected by Cyclone Nargis, which struck the country six months ago.

Children in the most affected areas of the country will be able to enjoy the comfort of soft toys, helping them to recover after their difficult experiences. The category-4 cyclone swept across Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta and Yangon Division on May 2-3, affecting an estimated 2.4 million people. More than 130,000 people died or disappeared; more than 1 million lost their homes.

"It was wonderful news that IKEA's Social Initiative has donated soft toys for children in cyclone-affected areas in Myanmar," says Win Ma Ma Aye, child protection manager for Save the Children. "For most children, this is probably the first toy they can take home. One can imagine how will make children happy. Children have lost so much in the cyclone."

Save the Children has reached almost 500,000 people - including about 200,000 children - with lifesaving relief, education and protection programs since the cyclone hit. The agency moved quickly to assist families through the aftermath of the storm and continues to assist children and their families as they rebuild their lives.

The IKEA soft toys are being distributed through Save the Children's child-friendly spaces in more than 120 villages and through community child protection groups in selected villages. Save the Children's mobile and static health clinics will provide toys to children who come in for treatment. And toys will be given out in coordination with distributions of drinking water and activities raising health and hygiene awareness.

IKEA Social Initiative supports sustainable long-term projects with the aim to improve children's rights to a healthy and secure childhood with access to quality education. Save the Children and UNICEF are its main partners.

In emergency situations like the recent cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China, the IKEA Social Initiative can contribute with IKEA products. The IKEA Social Initiative also supports long-term reconstruction work, such as in the aftermath of the recent flooding in India and Bangladesh and the earthquake in China.