By Hope Imaka – EMTV Online
Leaving your home is a daunting and heartbreaking experience, more so is the challenge of re-establishing your family in a place to call ‘home’ once again.
For the 60 million refugees in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, this has now been made possible through the partnership between Swedish furniture giant IKEA, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Better Shelter.
Housing solutions formulated through this partnership has seen 10,000 IKEA-designed homes ordered so far.
Each shelter features a steel frame, doors with a lock, ventilation, windows, and a 6-foot-tall roof lined with solar panels. They can be assembled on site and require more than 8 hours to assemble without any additional tools. Furthermore, in comparison to the traditional tents employed by the UNHCR, each house offers 57-sqaure-feet of living space (enough to house a family of five).
These smart homes are pricier than the former tents used by UNHCR (each costing $1,150), but make up for it being twice the size, and lasts for 3 years (six times longer than the average tent).
In terms of rehabilitating those in need, it is an improvement of quality of life for the refugees and definitely a positive start into rebuilding their lives.
Industrial designer and architect of the shelter, Johan Karlsson, says the average stay in an UNHCR refugee camp is 17 years.
“Obviously the situation is complex and goes far beyond shelter. 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.”