IKEA and Brighter Lives for Refugees! #IKEABrighterLives

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Hey All!

Have you heard of the IKEA Foundations Brighter Lives for Refugees Campaign? It’s an amazing global IKEA store initiative that includes a donation of one euro ($1.37)* to the UN refugee agency UNHCR for every IKEA LEDARE – LED light bulb sold. Campaign funds 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 countries including Ethiopia, Chad, Bangladesh and Jordan. In addition the campaign will also fund improved primary education. The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign runs February 3 – March 29, 2014 and I hope you will take the opportunity to support this very important campaign.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity to help so many that are less fortunate. It’s amazing how something as little as having light can make a difference in a persons life. I know we take something like light and electricity for granted, when we absolutely shouldn’t!

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What a Difference a Light Can Make!

The absence or lack of light after sunset can have a devastating effect on safety and security for those living in refugee camps. 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. Solar street lights can improve safety in refugee camps by reducing the risk of crime, sexual and gender-based violence. Solar lanterns help girls and boys in refugee camps study after dark, improving results in school. Solar street lights help improve life in a refugee camp, enabling more community gatherings and social activities. Solar lanterns allow refugees to continue important income-generating activities such as weaving or sewing during the dark hours. Solar lanterns can also enable refugees to run their small shops and kiosks into the evening, increasing prospects of generating a sustainable income. It’s truly amazing how something as little as light can make people safe.

Did you know there are 376,393 Refugees* in Ethiopia alone. The number is shocking and it’s a lot of people who will greatly benefit from this campaign. The BLFR campaign improves and expands existing lighting and renewable energy programs, as well as funding improved children’s education for Somali refugees living in Ethiopian refugee camps.


The Kobe Refugee Camp in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia (pictured above) a young Somali refugee stands with her baby in the doorway of her new home, an IKEA Foundation funded prototype ‘Refugee Housing Unit’ shelter. Around 20 families are testing these new shelters to ensure they offer dignified and secure housing for refugees.

Key Facts About LED Lighting:

  • LED lighting consumes 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 20 times longer.
  • If one million people changed one bulb each into LED, this would in terms of CO2 emissions correspond to taking almost 6,700 cars off the road, or planting 17 million trees per year.
  • The total annual cost saving (including purchase price and energy consumption cost) of switching one incandescent 40W bulb to a corresponding LED bulb, is approximately $6.25 (5.3 Euro) on average.
  • LED bulbs use substantially less power than incandescents or CFLs. Replacing existing lighting with LEDs can save between 50% and 90% of lighting energy costs.
  • LED replacements are already available for many bulb types and can fit virtually all of your existing lamps.

IKEA continues to lead in sustainable business practices. In October 2012, IKEA US announced it would make a bold move to sell only LED lights in all its US stores by 2016. Already well on its way, the IKEA sale of only LED lights and lamps will and has enabled millions of people to live a more sustainable life at home, and save on their energy bills. IKEA also phased out all plastic bags in its stores in 2007 and incandescent bulbs in 2010.

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It’s amazing all that IKEA is doing to better the world! To show my support and to show my family how to appreciate our light and electricity we’re taking the IKEA Challenge!

IKEA is challenging us  to live one night without lights and the next using only one solar-powered LED lantern.  I hope it will show my family and raise awareness of what it’s like to live in a refugee camp.

Night One – Tuesday, February 18:
We will live one night without any light source (including cell phones). I hope I survive!

Night Two – Wednesday, February 19:
We will live one night using only one solar-powered LED lantern.

Wish us luck on our challenge as I’m sure we’re going to need it. First world problems I know. I hope this lesson will be beneficial to the kids and our family.

For more information about The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign visit the IKEA Website.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.