Our Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign is helping the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) bring light and energy to refugee camps in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Thanks to the support of IKEA’s co-workers and customers, the campaign has raised a total of €30.8 million to fund renewable energy and education in the camps. This has made them safer, better places for the families who live in them.
During three campaign periods in 2014 and 2015, the IKEA Foundation donated €1 to UNHCR for every LED light bulb sold by IKEA stores. The most recent campaign, which ran from 29 November to 19 December 2015, raised €12.4 million in just three weeks.
When night falls many refugee camps are plunged into darkness, making them dangerous and unsuitable places for families. So far, 284,000 refugees and their neighbours living in nearby communities in Ethiopia and Jordan have received the benefits of solar-powered lanterns and streetlights.
Syrian refugees Emtyaz, her husband Sadaa and their three children Malik (seven), Hamid (five) and Masa (four), fled their home a year ago and are now living in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. The family has solar lanterns inside their shelter and solar street lights outside, funded by IKEA Foundation.
“When the street lights were installed it felt like a further push to help us have a better life here,” says Emtyaz. “Suddenly we could sit outside again at night. The children could play outside into the evening. We could again have gatherings as a family and with friends.”
The campaign is also funding a solar farm in the Azraq camp to cover the energy needs of up to 60,000 refugees, including Emtyaz and her family.
In Bangladesh, the campaign has paid for 22 biogas plants in refugee camps. These process human waste and generate green fuel for cooking, benefiting 210 families. And more than 37,000 refugee children have also enrolled in primary school in Bangladesh, Chad and Ethiopia, thanks to funds donated through the campaign.
In the future, money raised through the campaign will fund projects in seven countries (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Chad, Sudan and Jordan). These will bring solar lights for schools and healthcare facilities, and solar energy for cookers, lanterns, street lights and water pumps. The money will also enable UNHCR to train teachers, build nearly 150 classrooms and train refugees how to repair and maintain renewable energy technologies.
With the €30.8 million, a total of 700,000 people will benefit directly from support to their families or communities. Over a million more will benefit indirectly from funds raised by the campaign.
Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, says: “I am immensely proud that we have been able to help UNHCR provide much-needed sustainable energy and education to thousands of refugee children and families, making their lives a little bit brighter.”