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I never really realized how much my family and I rely on lights until Ikea challenged my family to live one night without lights.

As part of the Brighter Lives for Refugees Campaign, they asked us to live one night without any light sources (including TV, Cell Phones and Computer), and then to go the second night using only a solar powered lantern so that we could understand the impact one light can really make.

One Night Without Lights

One Night Without Lights

On the first night,

we knew that we had limited time when the sun would be up, so I made sure to prep ahead. I had to set out jammies and diapers in a place I knew I could find them easily. I prepared dinner and drinks and made sure to get in as much reading and playing with the kiddos as we could before the sun went down.

We had to eat our dinner a little early to make sure that my already messy 4 year old could eat without issue. Feeding my new-to-solids baby was crucial before sundown as well! Can you imagine that in the dark?! Once it was dark, we were able to change into our pajamas relatively easy, but using the bathroom was a problem for my son. He didn’t understand that he couldn’t use the lights and he kept asking us to turn them on but once we were in the bathroom with him he (messily) went to the bathroom.

My son was also sad that story time had to be skipped that night. Reading before bed is part of our every night routine, and skipping it was a little bit sad for our bookworm. We told him a story instead, but our stories just aren’t as exciting as his favorite books.

My biggest challenges were dealing with a baby, no cell phone and no computer. Have you ever tried to change a poopy diaper in the dark?! Ugh. My poor little guy had remnants on him from my terrible wipe job in the dark that I didn’t see until the next morning when we woke up. I use my cell and my computer a lot. My job deals with a lot of electronic dependability and social media and taking a break- although it felt great- was harder than I thought it would be!

Although I knew that our home is completely safe, for some reason a pitch black house just feels creepy and unsafe. I can’t imagine being in a place where it not only FEELS unsafe, but actually is.

On the positive side though, I LOVED that we all were asleep much earlier than we usually are. When there’s no lights or computers or TV, we chatted for a bit and then retired to bed.

One Light Makes a Difference

On our second night we were allowed to use only the light from our lantern. What a treat after having no lights the night before! While it was still a challenge not being able to use all of our lights, we were able to do so much more than we could without any lights.

We ate dinner together by the light of the lantern, using the restroom was much easier for all of us, and diaper changes were for sure a breeze compared to doing it in darkness!

My son was able to read his books before bed time, and I felt considerably safer with just one light!


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.

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.

After living just one night without lights for my own family, I see just how important it is to help these families in any way we can! Just by buying lightbulbs you can make a difference in the safety and security of the families in refugee camps.

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