Ten-year old Rajesh, centre, was working in a cotton field in Morasiya village in Gujarat, but now he is going to school full time, thanks to a program funded by IKEA Foundation and run by Save the Children.
Ten-year old Rajesh, centre, was working in a cotton field in Morasiya village in Gujarat, but now he is going to school full time, thanks to a program funded by IKEA Foundation and run by Save the Children.

LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS - The IKEA Foundation, working with Save the Children, said it would expand efforts to fight child labor in the cotton industry in the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajastan.

The announcement to expand the program came two weeks after wide spread news reports that IKEA forged a pact with the Cuban government in 1987 for Cuban prisoners to make wood dining tables, children's tables and other furniture.

The IKEA Foundation said programs with Save the Children have helped remove 65,000 children between 6 and 14 years old from being used as child laborers in other parts of India. In addition to helping these kids return to classrooms, the IKEA Foundation said its program has helped 89,000 children between age three and five receive pre-school educations and provided vocational skills to some 16,000 15- to 18-year-olds.

 

The IKIEA Foundation's three new projects to combat child labor in India include

  • Improving the quality of education to make sure children complete school and reduce the drop-out rate;
  • Enhancing family incomes through access to government social security and rural work schemes; and
  • Raising awareness in cotton-growing communities of children’s rights and the dangers to children from working in cotton fields and factories.

“This is a natural step in our long collaboration with Save the Children to strengthen children’s rights in India,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of IKEA Foundation. “If we can create more opportunities for children in developing countries by improving education and awareness of children’s rights, we can help these children break the cycle of poverty and build a brighter future for themselves, their families and society at large.”

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