Kay is at that wonderful age where she is so excited about learning, and happily recounts her newly-acquired knowledge to me after school each day. I'm treated to renditions of counting songs, endless displays of how to write letters and even, recently, an explanation of what our 5 senses are and how we use them. I wish I could bottle up this excitement for learning so she could keep it throughout her life; I hope she does in any case.
Which makes it all the more powerful when I remember that it's only because of a lucky chance that we live in a country where education is not only available, but mandatory. It's one of those things that you start to take for granted merely because it's always been there. But there are so many kids who aren't so lucky; whose parents would love to be able to give the gift of a good education.
My father didn't learn how to read until I was in 3rd grade. I used to think it was the most fun thing when we would do our homework together! He is dyslexic, but back in the days when he was in school, they didn't have special programs for learning challenges; he was pushed along from grade to grade until he finally dropped out when he was 14. Since reading was something he couldn't do for the longest time, he was always especially proud that I learned to read early and loved it. My sister and I could ask for a new book at any time and he would never say no. (Anything else was another story, but a book always got a "yes"!)
It wasn't until I became a parent that the well-being of other children became more important to me. I expected to care about my own child; I didn't expect to suddenly care so much about all children. And that's why I'm so pleased to learn about IKEA's partnership with UNICEF and Save the Children.
Every soft toy or children's book you buy at IKEA between November 9, 2014 until January 3, 2015 will result in a $1.00 donation to Save the Children and UNICEF. So far, the program has benefited more than 11 million children in Asia, Africa and Europe. Access to education is one of the best investments we can make for children worldwide; it helps them rise out of poverty; it offers a safe environment to learn and play; it teaches life skills that can improve their own lives and that of their communities; and it reduces vulnerability to exploitation, abuse and disease. When a child gets an education, he or she changes not only the course of their own life, but the lives of those around them, and even the generations that come after them, as well.