Aside from the eternal anguish that is putting together a flat-pack entertainment center, it has been a relatively quiet year thus far for affordable furniture emporium IKEA with no garden gnome uprisings, unaccompanied monkey-spottings, poopcake and horseball recalls, or bookcase-related drama to speak of.
There has, however, been a bit of welcome noise from the humanitarian arm of the Swedish mega-company as of late with the launch of “Brighter Lives for Refugees.” The campaign, launched by the IKEA Foundation in partnership with the United Nation’s refugee agency, UNHCR, will see one euro (about $1.35) from the in-store sale of every LEDARE LED light bulb be donated to support various projects at UNHCR-operated refugee camps in countries such as Jordan, Chad, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. Said projects will include the distribution of indoor solar lanterns, solar street lights, safe, fuel-efficient cooking stoves, and “other renewable energy technologies.”
Explains the UNHCR:
Today, there are nearly 10.5 million refugees globally, around half of which 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. Simple activities such as going to the toilet, collecting water or returning to the shelter can become difficult and dangerous, particularly for women and girls.
The improvements funded by the campaign will make each refugee camp a safer and more suitable home for refugee children and their families. In addition, the campaign will also fund improved primary education.
Claiming that the Brighter Lives for Refugees “will help bring lights and renewable energy into the streets and homes of refugees camps, so UNHCR can help build a better everyday life for refugee children and families,” IKEA Foundation CEO Per Heggenes goes on to add: “The absence of powered light limits everyday activities 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."
Although the IKEA Foundation has its benevolent fingers in numerous humanitarian pots including a long-running partnership with UNICEF, this initiative won’t be its first in partnership with the UNHCR. The two have been partnered since 2010 and, in the years since, €73 million has been raised to help better the lives of children and families living in refugee camps.
You also might recall that IKEA plans to completely phase out CLF and other energy-efficient light bulbs from store shelves by 2016 and will only sell ultra-efficient LED bulbs. So, if you’ve been meaning to finally get around to some lighting-related overhauls around the house the winter, get thee to a local IKEA (if there is one) and throw a few LEDs into your big yellow shopping bag.
The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign runs now through March 29 at all IKEA stores across the globe.
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