IKEA Canada donates $50K to build play areas for kids
BURLINGTON, Ontario – IKEA Canada has entered into a new partnership with Women’s Shelters Canada that will see the retailer donate as much as $50,000 worth of product to furnish children’s play area in facilities close to each of its 14 stores across the country.
“At IKEA, we believe every child has the right to play and develop in a safe and secure environment,” IKEA Canada sustainability manager Melissa Mirowski said in a statement. “Our partnership with Women's Shelters Canada supports us in our goal to create a play movement, emphasizing the importance of play for children and adults alike, while also alleviating the barriers to play facing vulnerable children in Canada and across the world.”
The announcement was made last week at the retailer’s head office and flagship store here during a discussion on the importance of play in creating safe places for women and children. The talk featured Mirowski; Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality; Lise Martin, executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada; and, Diane Beaulieu, executive director of Halton Women’s Place.
“Everyone has a role to play in advancing gender equality and supporting survivors of gender-based violence,” Monsef said in a statement, adding, “With thousands of women and children in shelters across Canada, we need everyone engaged. This is an issue that touches all of us, and only by working together through partnerships like this one will we truly advance gender equality. I commend IKEA Canada and Women’s Shelters Canada for their leadership and collaboration, and hope this serves as a model for others, particularly those in the private sector, to get involved.”
Women’s Shelters Canada represents over 400 shelters across Canada and works as a unified voice to collaborate, educate, and innovate for systemic change that ends violence against women. According to Statistics Canada, of the women in shelters with parental responsibilities, 76% were admitted with one or more of their children. Of those children, approximately 81% are under the age of 11.
“It is particularly important for children who have been exposed to or have experienced violence in the home to feel safe and secure when they are residing in a shelter,” said Lise Martin, executive director of the Ottawa-based umbrella group. “Play is an essential way that children can process and heal from their experiences with domestic violence, and these new, custom play areas will help facilitate that.”
The IKEA commitment to enhance the lives of children and families globally is born in part out of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children, which states every child should have the right to play. Having conducted some of the world’s largest research on the role of play, IKEA believes play is vital for development and shapes who we are, makes us stronger, more creative and more active.
Together with IKEA Foundation, IKEA Canada has a history of supporting children’s rights across the globe, including through its Let’s Play for Change campaign. For the past three years, IKEA Canada has donated the turnover of its SAGOSKATT soft toy collection – at an approximate value of $300,000 – to local charities across the country that support childhood development.
In an effort to minimize barriers for gender equality, last year, IKEA Canada donated $55,000 in needed home furnishings to 13 local women’s organisations – including self-employment programs for women who live with a low-income; organisations providing shelter and support to women who have experienced abuse; and, violence prevention programs.
IKEA Canada and Women’s Shelters Canada will work with local shelters across the country to assess the unique needs of each and are on track to design and build all play areas by the end of the calendar year.