IKEA Brings Sustainable Lighting to Families in Refugee Camps

Mireille Girard, UNHCR Representative in Thailand, Supharoek Wichianchot, IKEA Bangna, Deputy Business Navigator and teams take a group photo at the Opening of “Brighter Lives for Refugees”. Photo: UNHCR

A new campaign, “Brighter Lives for Refugees”, will run at the IKEA Bangna store in Bangkok from today to 29 March 2014. For every LEDARE light-emitting diode bulb sold during the campaign, the IKEA Foundation will donate Є1 (41 Baht) to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Funds raised by the campaign will help to provide solar street lights, indoor solar lanterns, and other renewable energy technologies such as fuel efficient cooking stoves in UNHCR refugee camps in five countries: Bangladesh, Chad, Ethiopia, Jordan and Sudan.

Today, there are nearly 10.5 million refugees globally, including some 130,000 in nine camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Around half of the world’s refugees 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 visiting the toilet, collecting water or returning to the shelter from elsewhere 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. The campaign will also fund improved primary education.

“The IKEA Bangna team supports the IKEA Foundation’s belief that every child has a right to a safe place called home,” said IKEA Bangna, Deputy Business Navigator, Supharoek Wichianchot at today’s campaign launch in Bangkok. “It also extends an already strong partnership with UNHCR; since 2010 we have helped improve living conditions in many refugee camps in the world.”

UNHCR Representative in Thailand Mireille Girard added, “In 2013, over 2 million people became refugees – a near 20-year record. 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.”

Supharoek highlighted that the LEDARE light bulbs are durable and 85 percent more efficient than traditional light bulbs. He also encouraged IKEA customers to live sustainably while helping refugees worldwide.

Source: UNHCR

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