The innovative scheme hopes to give employment to 200 refugees.
Well-known furniture company, IKEA, is planning to sell textiles made by the refugees of Syria, according to recent reports. The innovative plan, being carried out by the popular Swedish company, will provide jobs for over 200 displaced refugees by 2019. IKEA is currently working with local women’s organizations in Jordan, as most of the workers will be Syrian refugee women who are currently sheltered there. They hope to provide flexible working hours for the women who will be producing the textiles, so that the new employees can have a balanced work life, with enough time to support their families. The fabric products that the women will make will then be sold locally throughout the Middle Eastern markets.
IKEA has been known in the past to offer relief to those less fortunate, doing their best to improve the lives of those in crisis, who often have nowhere else to turn. IKEA has donated $33.3 million to lighting projects in suffering regions of the world using a LED lighting incentive throughout their stores. In 2015, when thousands of Syrian refugees fled to camps in Jordan, they were left without electricity. Recognizing the urgent need to help, IKEA put together an incentive which meant that for every LED product that was purchased in one of their stores, one euro was raised for their ongoing program to make the refugee camps more sustainable.
The $33.3 million raised went towards providing hundreds of street lamps which brightened the settlements, as well as building more sustainable solutions in the camps. During that time, over half of the 15 million Syrian refugees were children, meaning that more lights provided a place to study and play during the darker hours. As well as this project, IKEA also upgraded 10,000 refugee tents into modular solar shelters, providing a safer and sturdier construction for a family of refugees to live in. The built-in solar panels of these constructions, made possible by IKEA’s work teamed together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, meant that solar batteries could be charged to provide four hours of LED lighting every night.
USA Country Manager Lars Peterson wrote a letter addressed to the American IKEA workforce to explain why doing what they can to help those currently in crisis is needed now more than ever, explaining that it will help to remove prejudice, and unite more people together. He said, “Over the past 35 years, I have lived in many countries where I have been an immigrant. As the Country Manager of IKEA in Italy, Japan, and now the US, I have witnessed firsthand the power of people working together: people from different backgrounds, nationalities, and religions uniting to achieve our vision of creating a better everyday life. This is why any proposal that would discriminate against a certain group of our customers or co-workers, or limit our ability to attract and retain diverse talent is so troubling.”
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