A Bright Idea for a Good Cause

IKEA Foundation and UNHCR Create Better Living Conditions for Refugees

BURLINGTON, ON, Feb. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Refugee camps can be dark and dangerous places. Unfortunately, their populations are increasing daily. The need to create a safer and more suitable environment for the families who are forced to live in these conditions is immediate. Today, IKEA has launched the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign to help the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provide light for refugee camps all around the world. For every LED light bulb purchased in IKEA stores between February 1 and March 28, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to UNHCR.

"Today there are almost 11.7 million refugees under UNHCR's care, half of whom are children," says Stefan Sjostrand, President, IKEA Canada. "At IKEA we believe children are the most important people in the world and we are committed to programs that have a significant impact on improving their living conditions around the world. The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign raises funds in order to provide many of those living in refugee camps with lighting and energy solutions."

Part of the funds from last year's campaign have been used to help over 11,000 Syrian refugees living in Azraq refugee camp, Jordan, by providing families with a solar-powered lantern, which can be used for mobile-phone charging and as a light source so families can carry on with their everyday activities. Solar lanterns allow girls and boys to study after dark, helping them with their education and progress in school. Lanterns and solar street lights mean that adults can continue working and communities can have social gatherings after sunset.

"This is the strict minimum that is required for refugees who already live in extremely dire situations," said Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Representative in Canada. "Providing a light source to refugee children and their families can make tremendous improvements in a refugee setting, and this is why everyone's support is absolutely vital." 

About IKEA Group
Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and we offer well designed, functional and affordable, high quality home furnishing, produced with care for people and the environment. The IKEA Group has 315 stores in 27 countries. In addition there are more than 40 stores run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group had 716 million visitors during FY14 and 1.5 billion people visited IKEA.com. www.ikea.com

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world's poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child's life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook/IKEAfoundation

About UNHCR – The UN refugee agency
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the UN refugee agency, was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives.

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For further information: about the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign or other initiatives between the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR, please contact: IKEA Canada: Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick, 905-637-9440 x6378, madeleine.lowenborg-frick@ikea.com; The IKEA Foundation: Jonathan Spampinato, Tel: +31 611756336, E-mail: Jonathan.Spampinato@ikeafoundation.org; UNHCR: Gisèle Nyembwe, Tel: 613-986-4300, E-mail: nyembwe@unhcr.org


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