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IKEA Stands with Syrian Refugees in Jordan by Providing Job Opportunities

24 April, 2017
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The world renowned furniture company IKEA is focusing on creating sustainable futures for impoverished individuals who have been robbed of hope. As part of this drive, IKEA has announced that it will start employing Syrian refugees in Jordan.

The company has stated that it will begin to employ refugees, as well as unemployed Jordanians, this summer in new production centers on the outskirts of Amman, near the Jordanian border. The employment initiative is part of IKEA’s social sustainability drive, which aims to take 200,000 people out of poverty by providing them with jobs.

According to the website Dezeen, the production centers are expected to be operational by August and will focus on producing woven products, such as rugs, cushions and bedspreads. IKEA is partnering with an NGO established by Queen Rania of Jordan, the Jordan River Foundation, to see the initiative through. The foundation will manage the production centers and start by employing 100 people, which will increase to 400 within two years. Half of those employed will be Syrian refugees, and the other half will be Jordanians.

With this plan, IKEA becomes one of the first “multinationals to support an initiative to provide jobs to people displaced by Syria’s civil war,” according to the Financial Times.

Jordan has become home for over 1 million refugees that have fled the ongoing civil conflict in Syria.

In addition to selling the products produced at these centers in IKEA’s store in Amman, the Financial Times reported that the company will also sell the products to other Middle Eastern countries and countries that Jordan shares free-trade agreements with, given the small scale of production during the initial phases of the project. However, the company said that it would consider selling the products to countries in the EU at a later stage. 

In an interview with Dezeen, IKEA's Head of Range and Supply Jesper Brodin spoke about the need for major companies and large corporations to recognize their responsibility toward helping address the world’s problems. "Jordan doesn't make any sense from a financial perspective, at least not in the short term, but it's part of resolving something," he said.

The announcement follows another drive launched by IKEA to partner with social entrepreneurs in order to boost women’s lives and the lives of their families. In March, IKEA combined its efforts with social enterprises in India to financially empower women by creating job opportunities through producing handcrafts.

This is also not the first time IKEA has turned its humanitarian side toward helping refugees. The IKEA Foundation previously collaborated with UNHCR to create a partnership with Better Shelter, an award-winning flat-pack refugee housing structure. Better Shelters are steel-framed structures that are easy to assemble and can accommodate four people. They are built to be more sustainable and far more reliable than tents. According to the Better Shelter website, thanks to this partnership tens of thousands of displaced individuals across Africa, Europe and Asia are now dwelling in these temporary homes. 

Tags IKEA refugees Syria Jordan