Employment & Entrepreneurship

New IKEA campaign will bring light to refugee camps

Today the IKEA Foundation and IKEA stores worldwide are launching a new campaign to bring sustainable lighting to refugee camps.

The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign will run in IKEA stores globally from 3 February to 29 March 2014.  For every LEDARE (LED light bulb) sold during the campaign, the IKEA Foundation will donate Є1 to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Funds generated by the campaign will help provide solar street lights, indoor solar lanterns, and other renewable energy technologies—such as fuel-efficient cooking stoves—in UNHCR refugee camps in several countries, including Ethiopia, Chad, Bangladesh and Jordan. In addition, the campaign will also fund improved primary education.

Creating a safe place to call home

Today, there are nearly 10.5 million refugees globally, around half of whom are children. Some refugees have no choice but to live in refugee camps, where an absence or lack of light after sunset can have a devastating effect on safety and security.

The improvements funded by the IKEA Foundation will make each refugee camp a safer and more suitable home for refugee children and their families. Simple activities such as visiting the toilet, collecting water or returning to the shelter in the evening will become safer, particularly for women and girls. Children will be able to continue their studies after dark, and their parents will be able to take part in income-generating activities, such as sewing.

Transforming refugees’ lives

“In 2013, over 2 million people became refugees—a near 20-year record,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “With each new humanitarian emergency, the support of the private sector becomes more vital and more urgent. This campaign represents a new, unique chapter in our relationship with the IKEA Foundation, UNHCR’s largest private-sector partner. Together, we hope to be able to transform the lives of many refugees.”

The IKEA Foundation believes that every child deserves a safe place to call home, yet every year millions of children and their families are forced to flee their homes because of war, conflict or natural disaster. Since 2010 the IKEA Foundation has partnered with UNHCR, helping to provide shelter, care and education to families and children within refugee camps and surrounding communities. IKEA’s logistics expertise is also helping UNHCR respond more effectively to emergency situations.

“Life in a refugee camp can be very hard, particularly for children,” explains Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation. “The absence of powered light limits everyday tasks we take for granted, such as sharing a meal or doing your homework. It impacts safety and security and the ability for families to generate an income.

“The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign will help bring lights and renewable energy into the streets and homes of refugee camps, so UNHCR can help build a better everyday life for refugee children and families.”

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