#brighterlives4refugees: the ikea foundation and the UNHCR

Over the weekend, I spent some time watching various TED Talks (if you’ve never seen any, definitely have a look – so many interesting topics are covered, from the environment and the Middle East to design and technology) and pottering about on YouTube, and I discovered that the UN have their own channel. I added it to my subscriptions, and when I logged on this morning, this video had been posted:

I read quite a lot about the situation in the Middle East, and the one thing that always makes me despair is the situation with refugees and displaced people; the UNHCR (the refugee arm of the UN) provide as much care as they can for an incredible 11.7 million refugees around the world, and half of these are children. Children who have lost everything; one or both parents, their siblings, their homes, their posessions…. childhood is supposed to be a carefree, magical time full of smiles and laughter, learning and play, but that’s not the case for so many, and as a parent, this is something I find hard to deal with.

Many refugees are forced to live in camps which have no power whatsoever, which means that once it’s dark, it’s dark until the next day. No streetlights, no lamps, nothing – so simple tasks that we take for granted like reading, writing, playing games and even going to the toilet all become virtually impossible. One solution is solar lights, which allow people to carry on with their daily lives once the sun goes down; they can socialise, cook and study easily, and feel safer and more secure in and around the camps. The UNHCR and IKEA Foundation have teamed up on the #brighterlives4refugees campaign, which aims to provide refugee camps with sustainable lighting, subsequently improving quality of life for millions of displaced people across the world. Between now and March 28th, for every LED bulb sold (they’re really fantastic – they use 85% less energy than a usual light bulb and can last up to twenty years!), the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro to help light refugee camps – so by simply switching from your usual light bulbs you can contribute to energy conservation AND improving peoples lives – pretty great, huh? The campaign was run for the first time during the same period last year, and a total of around 7.7 million euros had been raised by the last day.

For more information, check out the Brighter Lives page on the UNHCR website, and there are some great testimonial videos on the related IKEA page.


  1. Gwen - TheFoodieHistorian
    February 2, 2015 / 4:10 pm

    Such a good idea for an initiative (and I loooove those lights with the copper reflector inside). While there's a lot about Ikea that makes me raise my eyebrow, I am always quite impressed by their recycling and charity ethos.

  2. Fiona Peacock
    February 2, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    Argh this is amazing, so needed and must make such a huge difference. x

  3. Polly Davies
    February 2, 2015 / 8:01 pm

    amazing! Such a great idea x

  4. Adele @ Circus Queen
    February 2, 2015 / 11:13 pm

    I posted a picture of those lampshades once and no one could believe they were in IKEA. There are lots of gems in there. I imagine lights would make refugee camps safer for women and children too. Great initiative.

  5. laura redburn
    February 3, 2015 / 3:35 pm

    this is fantastic, and it's nice to see big brands doing this kind of thing.

  6. Laura Side Street
    February 3, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    It's really good to hear that Ikea is doing something so simple but wonderful – a great concept, just hope the help gets to the people who need it mostLaura x

  7. nancy john
    February 4, 2015 / 5:27 am

    I love these ideas, I think they work perfectly well with young learners. I am actually thinking of using some of them while teaching my own kids. I will let you know how it works with them. Thanks for sharing. Kids education

  8. Claire Evans
    February 4, 2015 / 11:33 am

    It is such a sad situation. I'm glad that they are raising awareness and helping in this way. Great post. Thanks for writing and helping to make a difference too x

  9. Vintage Sheet Addict
    February 5, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing I will have a look at this, we really don't know how lucky we are do we xxx

  10. Jess @ Along Came Cherry
    February 6, 2015 / 6:23 pm

    What a great campaign, I will definitely buy some next time I'm in Ikea x

  11. KatGotTheCream
    February 6, 2015 / 6:37 pm

    This is one of the many reasons why I love Ikea – thanks for highlighting it! x

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