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The happy-rebel designers

Yasmine was pregnant when she, her husband and their two children were forced to flee their home in Iraq. They ended up at a camp in Baghdad where their daughter, Ritaj, was born two months prematurely—but right in time to live in a Better Shelter rather than a tent.

“The shelters are more private, more safe—especially for Ritaj,” says Yasmine. “She needs a warm space.”

All children should feel safe and secure, and innovative design can make that happen. One of our best-known projects created a more dignified, durable emergency shelter. Developed by our Swedish social enterprise partner Better Shelter—with crucial input from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and from the people who now call it home—the shelter has been used to house displaced families, health centres and administrative offices for humanitarian organisations.

The shelters are more private, more safe.

Yasmine, mother 
of newborn Ritaj

The shelters are more private, more safe.

Yasmine, mother 
of newborn Ritaj
© UNHCR/Sebastian Rich

Democratic design and innovation hold the promise of changing lives. Since our early days as a foundation, when we helped establish the Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre at Lund University’s School of Industrial Design, we have supported projects that transcend the usual scope of industrial design to put people first and let them enjoy safe, secure living environments.

We have also teamed up with What Design Can Do, a platform that works to advance design as a tool for social change. Our joint campaigns have called on creative thinkers to find new ways to support refugee families, to devise solutions to fight the impacts of climate change, and to rethink how we produce, distribute and use energy in our cities.

We have always taken on risky projects regardless of their guarantee for success, and will continue to do so because we believe this is the role philanthropy should play in working towards a better future for everyone.