Refugee Livelihoods

As night-time temperatures drop, IKEA Foundation and UNHCR team up to provide comfort and warmth to Syrian families returning to Aleppo

As families all over the world come together for the holiday period, the IKEA Foundation is donating 150,000 mattresses to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), for vulnerable families living within Syria.

By providing the mattresses, we are helping children and families who have lost everything during the conflict have a more comfortable place to sleep over the winter and through 2018.

The mattresses will be given to families who are displaced within Syria, as well as people who are returning to their damaged or destroyed homes.

Abd Al Razzaq and his family in front of their destroyed home

Abd Al-Razaq Al-Habib, a farmer and father of nine, is among those who have received some of the mattresses. When he returned to his home recently, he found it severely damaged and all his furniture gone.

He said: “Before the war we had everything. There was electricity, water. We had jobs and my house was intact. Now there’s no house, no jobs, nothing. The mattress […] it’s good for our health. We used to sleep on the ground—now we have mattresses, we are delighted.”

Abd Al Razzaq inspecting the winter and core relief items that he received from UNHCR

For families like Abd Al-Razaq’s, this is the first time they have received relief of this kind. As well as the mattresses, UNHCR is also providing essentials such as high thermal blankets, solar lamps, cooking equipment and winter clothes among other items. Altogether, the distribution of aid in 2017 and early 2018 will reach 250,000 people across Syria in Homs, Aleppo and rural Damascus.

kids helping their parents with receiving winter and core relief items provided by UNHCR

Firas Al-Khateeb, a spokesperson for UNHCR, said: “The mattresses donated by the IKEA Foundation will go to some of the most vulnerable families in Syria. This is part of our programme to support them over the winter months.”

We have supported UNHCR with mattress donations since 2012, and have given almost 350,000 mattresses to date, helping thousands of displaced children and families.

Although the situation in Syria is not improving enough for refugees to return home, we are continuing to support our partners so that families still living in the country can have a better place to call home. Earlier in 2017, we also funded a programme by Save the Children to support children and families within Syria.