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Today, there are nearly 10.5 million refugees around the world – about half of which are children. They find safety and shelter at the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) camps. But the lack of light in many can have a devastating effect on their safety, education prospects and income.
Providing sustainable lighting can hugely affect the quality of life for refugees. Solar lanterns help girls and boys study after dark, improving their results in school. Solar streetlights improve safety in camps, and enable more community gatherings and social activities. Reliable lighting allows refugees to continue important income-generating activities into the evening, such as weaving, sewing or running small shops and kiosks.
A little light in a refugee camp can make huge difference for the many families who call them home.

Brighter Lives For Refugees

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 Brighter Lives For Refugees will make each refugee camp a safer and more suitable home for refugee children and their families.
Brighter Lives For Refugees2

From February 3 – March 29, 2014, every LEDARE LED lightbulb you buy at IKEA will mean IKEA Foundation donates $1 to light refugee camps! 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.
Brighter Lives For Refugees3My family will be taking on a challenge from IKEA to live one night without any light source (including TV, computers, cell phones etc), and then the next night using one LED light from IKEA. This will be happening next week, and we can’t wait to take on this challenge and tell you all about how it goes for us.


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 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. LED lights last up to 20 years and consumes up to 85% less energy than traditional bulbs, saving one money. They provide an even warm white light, light up immediately without getting hot, contain no mercury and can be recycled.

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