We have now returned to our safe, secure lives in Norway. Coming home was a strange experience, both mentally and emotionally. At the airport in Oslo, we heard happy Christmas songs on the loudspeakers, and we saw people in a shopping spree at the Tax-free shop and nice, almost luxurious lounge areas. The contrast between the refugees’ situation and our own couldn’t be greater.
A trip like this puts our own lives in perspective. We’ve learned to really appreciate the life we lead and all the privileges we have. What we previously thought were big problems in our lives turn out to be trifles in comparison. It is now our mission to help spread the word about the refugee situation and the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign. We’ve seen for ourselves what a profound difference lighting makes for refugees.
We’re all back at work in our IKEA stores now. Some of us have broken into tears when people have asked us about our experience. While it was hard to hear the refugees’ stories told directly to us, it somehow feels even harder to pass them on to other people. The refugees’ faces, their words, their stories and the simple environment they live in… It all touched us deeply and will stay with us forever.