Having a lot of fun together! © By Elisabeth Rytterager UNICEF

IKEA FOUNDATION – Designing a better home for refugee children

On World Refugee Day, the IKEA Foundation is celebrating its unique partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Refugee Housing Unit—a partnership to design and build a better home for refugee families.

Many of the shelters currently used in refugee camps often have a life span of as little as six months before the impact of sun, rain and wind means they need to be replaced. However, refugees usually stay in camps for several years.

Not only does this leave vulnerable families even more exposed to the challenges of life in a refugee camp, but it also presents a huge burden to the aid agencies and governments trying to create a more dignified life for the millions of people who have had to flee their own homes.

Thanks to the IKEA Foundation’s focus on funding innovative projects and developing connections between its partners, that could be set to change.

“Building back better”

The Refugee Housing Unit started working on a project to develop emergency shelters in 2008. Johan Karlsson, Project Manager at the Refugee Housing Unit, recalls: “The Indian Ocean tsunami was still a fresh memory, and ‘Building back better’ was the motto among our humanitarian partners—meaning that humanitarian aid should not only contribute to saving lives, but also to creating sustainable communities after disasters.”

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Published: 06/18/2013, Copyright: Elisabeth Rytterager, Company: UNICEF Norway

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