by OLIVIA DEGAN
IKEA has recently pledged to sell rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees in Jordan. These products will be made available in Middle Eastern locations as well as Sweden, where IKEA was first established. This project is revolutionary for multiple reasons.
The project to begin selling products made by Syrian refugees was in the works since before Trump was elected. Since then, IKEA has become a substantial force advocating against Trump’s recent executive order, which has been coined as the “Muslim ban,” and IKEA feels that it is important to push their mission to create jobs for refugees in Jordan now more than ever.
The project aims to create jobs for female refugees in Jordan, most of whom have been unable to find work. This is likely due to the fact that, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Jordan is the second largest host of refugees per capita globally. As a result, a third of the Jordanian population is comprised of Syrian refugees. Many of these refugees live in camps, where work is scarce and money is tight.
IKEA has worked to enhance conditions for refugees in the past, joining forces with the UN to design new shelters for refugees. The “flat pack” shelter created through this partnership has won both Swedish and British design awards and has changed lives for refugee families in multiple places. The shelters are expected to last for three years, making them more durable than an average tent, and, according to Dezeen (an architecture and design magazine), the shelters can accommodate five people. Additionally, the shelters have solar panel roofs, which provide electricity to these refugees, who’ve been neglected and let down by their home countries. The IKEA Foundation donated over $33 million to the UNHCR, which has pledged to support the IKEA Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign in its future endeavors.
The IKEA Corporation has become a model company in the field of activism for human rights, just like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many other large businesses. The private sector has taken the initiative to support refugee rights. When will the American people agree to do the same?