Environment and sustainability expert and grandfather of four, Nigel McGarry is gearing up for an ultra special UNICEF and Save the Children charity trip to Vietnam this to day. Nigel is an environment specialist with IKEA Belfast and alongside three other co-workers from throughout Ireland and the UK, Nigel won the opportunity to represent IKEA as a ‘Sustainability Ambassador.’ During the week long venture Nigel will visit key cities, towns and villages in Vietnam seeing at first-hand how monies raised through IKEA’s annual soft toy campaign has helped improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families through UNICEF and Save the Children education programmes.
Explained Nigel, “For every soft toy sold, IKEA donate one Euro to UNICEF and Save the Children and since 2003 this global campaign has raised over 23.8 million euros helping to change the lives of over 8 million children in Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. In Vietnam support focuses on social and education initiatives including ethnicity minority and bilingual education projects. Vietnam has an ethnically diverse society made up of 54 different groups and as the official language of primary schools is Vietnamese, children from minority groups immediately face a language barrier.”
“We’ll be visiting kindergarten and primary schools and local community groups in villages and townships in Lao Cai and Quang Ninh provinces, meeting pupils, teachers and parents and witnessing multi-lingual education projects for under-privileged children.”
Locally and as part of his environmental role with IKEA Belfast, Nigel has chalked up over 150 school visits since IKEA opened. “It’s a privilege to see the fabulous work in sustainability and the environment carried by schools throughout Northern Ireland. As an integral part of the curriculum it really is high up on their agendas and the enthusiasm and knowledge of both pupils and teachers is extremely impressive. When I return from Vietnam I’ll have even more film, photographs and stories to illustrate IKEA’s sustainable programmes in far flung parts of the world.”
During his trip Nigel will also be measuring every step he takes with a pedometer to help raise further cash as part of Save the Children in Northern Ireland’s Take a Step Challenge.
IKEA’s 2010 Soft Toy Campaign kicks off on 25th October and up until 24th December IKEA will donate one euro for every soft toy purchased in over 300 stores worldwide including IKEA Belfast. During the final shopping week before Christmas (19th -24th December) IKEA will also donate one euro to UNICEF and Save the Children for any item purchased across the entire children’s range and by choosing a children’s ‘Soft Toy’ main meal in the restaurant. Customers can also buy soft toys which will be donated to local charities.