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Ikea gives UNICEF $48 mln to fight India child labor

A three-year-old child labourer breaks stones on the banks of river Balason on the outskirts of Siliguri November 14, 2008. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Swedish furniture retailer Ikea announced on Monday that it would donate $48 million to UNICEF to help improve the health and living conditions of children in some of India’s poorest areas.

The donation makes the global furniture company the biggest corporate partner of the U.N. children’s foundation UNICEF (, with total commitments of more than $180 million, the U.N. agency said in a statement.

UNICEF Deputy Chief Saad Houry said that with its donations Ikea had demonstrated a “serious corporate commitment toward improving the living conditions in countries where it is working.”

“Ikea’s investment in children’s well-being, despite the downturn in the global economy, sets a high standard for corporate partnership,” he added.

UNICEF said the new donation would help it provide additional support for Indian national and state-led programs aimed at combating high mortality rates among children and mothers, and improving children’s access to nutrition.

The money will also be used to improve clean water and to support sanitation and health projects, such as providing infants with immunization and vitamin supplements, it said.