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Ikea is using its affordable housing solutions to assist with the Syrian refugee crises, The Christian Science Monitor reports. Ikea is working with the United Nations to provide Syrian refugees in Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden (as of now) with better temporary housing while they are living in refugee camps. Currently, most refugees are forced to live in tents, but Ikea's Better Shelters are much more suitable living options with windows, mosquito nets, lights, ventilation, and and a door that actually locks to help prevent women and children from being sexually assaulted, a problem that plagues refugee camps, according to CS Monitor. There are two different models, the larger of which can hold a family of five, both with six-foot tall roofs and solar panels on top to power LED lights and phone chargers.
Ikea is perfectly equipped to help with this problem and the housing structures are delivered like most of the brand's products: in flat-pack containers with pieces that will take four to eight hour to construct. The new structures cost three times the amount of the tents currently being used. However, while the tents only last six months on average, Ikea's Better Shelters can be used for at least three years.
The United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees has already ordered 10,000 Better Shelters. Ikea has also contributed $166 million to the organization by donating $1.06 to it for every LED product it sells.
With almost 60 million refugees currently displaced, Ikea knows that it is aiding in just one facet of a much larger problem. "Obviously the situation is complex and goes far beyond shelter," Johan Karlsson, the Ikea designer behind the shelters tells Canada's Globe and Mail. "This is just a tiny part of humanitarian aid, but it's an important one when it comes to allowing displaced people to live with dignity."