Central African RepublicOne year after repatriation efforts began, refugees from the Central African Republic are returning home. Although repatriation operations began in November 2019, the return of refugees from the Central African Republic was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Enhanced health and safety precautions made their return possible. The United Nations Refugee Agency, a U.N. agency responsible for protecting refugees, organized the implementation of health and safety precautions. Measures included the use of masks and temperature screening. Handwashing stations were also installed to prevent the spread of disease.

Central African Republic Refugees

Repatriation efforts began after security conditions in the Central African Republic improved. Stability in the country has developed at a slow pace. Less violence in regions of the Central African Republic known for volatile shifts prompted the voluntary return of refugees.

Beginning in 2012, violent confrontations between armed factions throughout the Central African Republic forced more than 500,000 people to flee. Thousands more went into hiding, often in the wilderness, where access to food and clean water is scarce. A staggering rate of poverty among citizens of the Central African Republic reflects years of political instability.

Poverty in the Central African Republic

Both domestically and abroad, refugees from the Central African Republic experience rates of extreme poverty and hunger. The Central African Republic was one of the last two countries on the 2018 Human Development Index ranking. Combined with the political instability of the nation, the Central African Republic’s low development score contributes to the nation’s high rate of poverty.

With a population of a little less than five million people, almost 80% of the country’s people live in poverty. While political instability is a major factor that contributes to the high rate of poverty in the country, meager production rates, insufficient markets and pronounced gender inequality also contribute to the high rate of poverty. Additionally, it is estimated that nearly half of the population of the country experiences food insecurity.

Alarmingly, almost 90% of food insecure individuals in the country are classed as severely food insecure, which is nearly two million people. This has particularly devastating effects for children aged between 6 months and 5 years old. More than one-third of all children within that age range are stunted due to lack of appropriate dietary nutrition.

The World Food Programme Alliance

In partnership with the government of the Central African Republic and other humanitarian organizations, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided emergency food and nutritional assistance to nearly 100,000 people, in 2018. This assistance was delivered to individuals who were affected by the violence that resulted from the coup in 2013, the civil violence that was unleashed by competing factions after the coup and the violence that continued through 2017, as hostility between armed groups was reignited. This method of the WFP’s humanitarian aid involves the distribution of food packages and the implementation of nutrition activities for children and pregnant mothers.

Time will tell whether refugees are returning to a country that will eventually provide for them. Through various initiatives, including Food Assistance for Assets and Purchase for Progress, the WFP hopes to turn civic, humanitarian functions over to the country’s government.

Food Assistance for Assets and Purchase for Progress

Both the Food Assistance for Assets and Purchase for Progress initiatives were designed by the United Nations to help partner nations achieve objectives set by the ‘Zero Hunger’ Sustainable Development Goal. Food Assistance for Assets “addresses immediate food needs through cash, voucher or food transfers.” Its response to immediate needs is paired with a long-term approach. Food Assistance for Assets “promotes the building or rehabilitation of assets that will improve long-term food security and resilience.”

Purchase for Progress works in tandem with Food Assistance for Assets. It is a food purchase initiative, whereby the WFP purchases more than $1 billion worth of staple food annually from smallholder farms. This food is used by the WFP in its global humanitarian efforts. Meanwhile, its ongoing investment in smallholder farms contributes to national economies.

Through the initiatives of the World Food Programme and its dedicated efforts for humanitarian assistance and hunger eradication, the Central African Republic will hopefully reach a point where its citizens never again have to flee the country they call home.

– Taylor Pangman
Photo: Flickr

Mass Migration Out of Venezuela
Mass migration out of Venezuela has several determinants including high inflation, crime rates, food and health care scarcity and the violation of human rights by government forces. These crises are deteriorating living conditions within this Latin American nation, creating a strong push factor for its citizens. The mass migration out of Venezuela is a phenomenon of desperation and necessity, resulting in millions of Venezuelans fleeing from the struggling nation.

Where are Venezuelans Fleeing to?

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, as of May 2019, over 3.7 million Venezuelans have fled the country. This is around a 10th of the nation’s population. Of these migrants, around 464,000 are asylum-seekers, with the rest acquiring other forms of residency. The majority of these migrants stay in Latin America, while some flee as far as Southern Europe.

In Latin America alone, the highest concentrations of Venezuelan refugees are located as follows:

  1. Columbia: 1.1 million
  2. Peru: 506,000
  3. Chile: 288,000
  4. Ecuador: 221,000
  5. Argentina: 130,000
  6. Brazil: 96,000

Life of Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants

The main goal of these migrants is to secure human rights in other countries. This is due to Venezuela no longer securing these rights within its borders. The United Nations recognized this motivation behind the mass exodus back in an August 2018 report and has since then been pressing Venezuela to address these concerns. As for other countries recognizing this humanitarian crisis, neighboring nations such as Columbia have built temporary refugee camps to house migrant Venezuelans.

Unfortunately, not all migrants receive legal residency in their countries of refuge. While some migrants obtain asylum or temporary legal residencies, some seeking refuge resort to illegal means, leaving them at risk of deportation. Whether illegal or legal, Venezuela migrants all may face potential hardships.

Across the board, people uproot from their homes in Venezuela, leaving behind everything they once had. Venezuelan refugees face unemployment and homelessness, as well as little to no access to basic necessities for survival. Venezuelan refugees are also particularly vulnerable to robbery and human trafficking. This risk amplifies especially as an illegal migrant, as those migrants may resort to contacting gangs in order to enter a region.


To combat the potential hardships Venezuelan refugees may face, many organizations are stepping forward to alleviate struggles for migrants. Taking on health services, organizations like Project Hope are continuously reaching out to hospitals packed with refugees, such as those in Cúcuta, Colombia.

Project Hope trains medical teams, provides on-site doctors, supplies essential medicines and treatment care and provides numerous other forms of aid to assist refugee-filled health facilities across Latin America. The International Refugee Committee and UNICEF are other notable organizations providing medical assistance.

Organizations like Global Affairs Canada and the Pan American Development Foundation are helping with housing Venezuelan refugees and building shelters. For instance, shelters exist in Boa Vista, Brazil, and in other areas of great need. Given the sheer magnitude of Venezuelan migrants, proper housing proves to be one of the biggest challenges countries with refugee influx face.

While there are many organizations providing aid to Venezuelan migrants and refugees, one thing is clear: the best way to help these Venezuelan migrants is to help Venezuela as a country. So long as Venezuela is in an economic, political and humanitarian crisis, citizens will continue to flee it. The mass migration out of Venezuela is not an isolated event; it is a symptom of a much bigger problem plaguing Venezuela.

– Suzette Shultz
Photo: Flickr

Impact Investing in RefugeesImpact investing, otherwise known as socially responsible investing, refers to investment aiming to create a positive social or environmental impact while also generating a financial return. Some subsets of impact investing intend to control the power of private investments. Here, these investors are only addressing the concerns of particular groups.

For example, “gender lens investing” encourages investment in companies that are led by women. Additionally, it promotes investment in companies that create products or services seeking to improve women’s’ lives and wellbeing.

However, an unprecedented rise in the number of refugees and displaced people globally is creating the need for a new type of impact investment, specifically addressing their needs. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, a record 70.8 million people around the world are either internally displaced, have become refugees, or are seeking asylum due to natural disasters or violent civil conflicts. Here are 3 organizations that are leading the charge in the new field of impact investing in refugees.

3 Leading Organizations Focused on Impact Investing in Refugees

  1. Refugee Investment Network
    The Refugee Investment Network (RIN) is one of the leading organizations in the emerging field of impact investing in refugees. At the Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference in San Diego in October of 2018, RIN was launched. RIN serves as an information hub connecting investors to projects that benefit refugees. To help investors address this group of individuals, RIN has created the Refugee Lens, which guides investors on how to most effectively seek out and invest in organizations benefitting refugees. One of RIN’s goals is to challenge the misconception that refugees are an economic burden. Instead, RIN promotes the idea that impact investing in refugees can stimulate economic growth, and presents evidence of this in a report, titled “Paradigm Shift.” The report points out that entrepreneurs comprise 13 percent of the refugee population in the U.S. This means that refugees have a higher percentage of entrepreneurs than both the non-immigrant refugee population and the native-born population in the U.S.
  2. Epimonia
    Epimonia is a fashion company that promotes awareness of refugee issues in the U.S. The company was founded by Mohamed Malim, a Somali-American entrepreneur and former refugee who fled Somalia’s civil war. Initially, he had relocated to Kenya, but then again to the U.S. Among other products, Epimonia sells bracelets made from life vests that were once worn by refugees, known as “embracelets.” The Greek island of Lesbos provides these life vests since they have a high population of refugees. Additionally, Epimonia works with the nonprofit organization Refugees4Refugees to acquire these life vests, which then become embracelets. Refugee workers in the Netherlands make the bracelets, which then sell throughout the U.S. Malim has sold almost 1,500 embraclets, and has visited 20 college campuses to spread awareness of refugee issues. Epimonia invests 50 percent of its profits into initiatives that benefit refugee communities in the U.S. The organization has given $1,500 to the Dream Refugee Mentorship Program. They provide current and former refugees with professional mentorship and scholarship aid. Additionally, it provides them with a network of connections to help them succeed in the workforce after college.
  3. Kiva Refugee Investment Fund
    In 2017, the microfinance company Kiva launched the Kiva Refugee Investment Fund (KRIF) to help extend financial services to refugees and provide loans to those looking to start businesses. Unlike other nonprofits that operate on the basis of donations, KRIF utilizes crowdfunding to channel money into loans. These are then given to refugees, which are later paid back. This means that individuals who contribute to loans not only get to aid in refugee entrepreneurs launching their businesses but also get to share in the successes that those businesses create. KRIF challenges the idea that refugees are too risky to invest in, and has supporting data. According to its website, KRIF currently has a rate of repayment on its loans of 95.5, percent. Additionally, they have effectively crowdfunded $12.5 million in loans to 15,873 refugee borrowers. In total, KRIF aims to reach 200,000 borrowers.

Multiple organizations are beginning the way for investment in refugees. Impact investing in refugees has proven to be far less risky than naysayers have claimed. In fact, it is incredibly effective at both generating a financial return to investors and uplifting refugee communities around the world.

– Andrew Bryant
Photo: Flickr

The Four Key Components of United Nations Refugee Agency
Currently, more than 65.6 million of the world’s population has been forcibly displaced due to conflict, persecution or inhospitable living conditions within their home countries. A majority of these refugees end up in temporary refugee camps, awaiting relocation in both private and state-backed developments. Unfortunately, resources in resettlement countries tend to be limited in capacity to help the millions of displaced.

Policy of Hope and the United Nations Refugee Agency

Fortunately, the international community is making strong efforts to provide both on-the-ground and financial resources to the countries that house the greatest number of refugees. Many organizations see this policy of hope as a universal good, and deem it paramount to find new homes and lives for those who are displaced.

Organizations like the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) work tirelessly to ensure that those displaced have a global advocate looking out for them.

The organization operates on several different levels to assist refugees around the world and saves the lives of thousands who would otherwise be left without any critical survival resources. Several of the most impactful divisions within UNHCR are its protection, shelter, health and advocacy programs.

1. Protection

The protection program seeks to ensure the safety of individuals under the label of refugee. The United Nations Refugee Agency provides funding to security partners who offer legal and physical protection to refugees and minimize the threat of physical violence in refugee camps. The protection program also generates funding for law schools and government agencies to emphasize coursework and professional development in refugee protection.

2. Shelter

The shelter unit of the United Nations Refugee Agency distributes tents and plastic sheeting that are used to make simple shelters in refugee camps throughout the world. The shelter program also funds the rehabilitation of communal displacement shelters, the construction of brand new homes, and also provides materials for those who choose to build homes themselves under self-help schemes.

3. Healthcare

The United Nations Refugee Agency also has a healthcare provision program which assesses the basic health needs of those living in a refugee camp. On a more general scale, UNHCR provides communities with HIV protection, reproductive health services, food and water security, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.

If there is a specific disease that is particularly prevalent in the camp, the United Nations Refugee Agency assesses the situation and provides what is most necessary. For instance, to flee conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many settled in refugee camps in Uganda. Unfortunately, the Ugandan refugee camps were rampant with malaria. Accordingly, UNHCR provided over 40,000 malaria nets to the camps, protecting many.

The provision of these essentials greatly benefits the refugees living in the camps and helps to ensure that they have a greater chance of survival and relocation.

4. Advocacy

The United Nations Refugee Program advocates for policy changes as well. The UNHCR has specific policy guidelines and standards that it advocates governments adopt. Each year a team assesses how trends in refugee movement and aid shift and adjusts the standards to ensure that needs of the many are met most effectively.

Overall, the world refugee crisis is both an overwhelming and daunting issue. Despite the scale of the problem, organizations like the United Nations Refugee Agency will continue to work as long there are refugees who need its help.

– Daniel Levy

Photo: Flickr

Refugees in Burundi

In September 2017, at least 36 Burundian refugees that were attempting to leave the violence inside their home country were killed in Congo, informed The New York Times. Since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected for a third term in a highly controversial election, 300,000 people have abandoned Burundi pursuing freedom.

Despite a decade of peace that Burundians saw after the civil war between the Hutus and Tutsis ends in 2005, 66.9 percent of the population in the Eastern African country are below the national poverty line. This problem makes conditions for refugees worse, as they lack basic services like water, shelter and health care. Four out of every 10 Burundians have been displaced from their country by the violent ethnic conflict.

However, several organizations provide aid to refugees fleeing Burundi. The following foundations work on assisting conditions in the African nation and are always accepting help from volunteers or donors.

  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) fights to provide better living conditions for the refugees, improving things such as shelter, health care and education. Also, the organization uses advocacy to direct public policy in certain countries to ensure the protection of refugees.
  • International Rescue Committee, like the UNHCR, provides education, safety and health aid to Burundian refugees. The organization believes in empowerment through education so that refugees have the proper information to help them make accurate decisions about their future. Through this strategy, the Rescue Committee ensures a better future for refugees still in Burundi and those who have already fled.
  • Help Age International is an organization that focuses on direct contact with the refugees. So far, its team has supported more than 14,000 vulnerable people in Mtendeli and Nduta, Burundian refugee camps in Tanzania. The work Help Age has accomplished includes giving rations cards and cash payments and highlighting issues such as domestic violence.
  • Other organizations aim to reduce poverty in Burundi, like Concern Worldwide, an organization that focuses on the health and nutrition of the citizens of Burundi.

Some countries have adopted public policies that ensure the welfare of refugees around the world, especially after the crisis in the Middle East in 2011. For example, Germany offers asylum applications for refugees, and Sweden provides refugees with rights like the immediate capacity to work and the possibility to choose a place of residence. Countries in Africa surrounding Burundi must adopt similar policies to allow the Burundian refugees a safe environment to shelter themselves and their families.

Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Syria
As the conflict in the country continues, water quality in Syria worsens, leaving the population more susceptible to diseases and forced to migrate in unsafe conditions.

Poor water quality in Syria is caused by damage and lack of maintenance to infrastructure as well as poor sanitation. Low power supply and lack of sewage sanitation also contribute to an insufficient clean water supply.

Water is also used as a weapon. For example, in Aleppo, pumps and electricity stations that fuel the water are controlled by different fighting parties. The water supply is often deliberately turned off for long periods of time as a tactic to wear the other side down.

As a result, civilians suffer and must resort to whatever supply of water they can find, such as wells, which are not guaranteed to be clean. Those who drink unsanitary water are at risk for developing diarrhea, typhoid, hepatitis and other health problems.

The Middle East has the lowest per capita water availability in the world as well as one of the highest rates of population growth, according to Ashok Swain, director of the International Center for Water Cooperation.

Syria and other nearby countries such as Iraq suffered a severe drought from 2007-2010, which severely lessened agricultural productivity and forced farmers and herders to migrate for water.

“The inability of Syria and Iraq to meet the demand for water — due to growing populations and/or decreasing supply and flawed water policies — has only exacerbated problems caused by drought conditions,” wrote Marcus King, associate professor of International Affairs at George Washington University, in his essay “The Weaponization of Water in Syria and Iraq.”

“Water scarcity played a meaningful but complicated role in creating conditions that led to political unrest and ultimately violent insurrection in Syria in spring 2011 and the spillover into Iraq,” said King.

According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, 6.5 million people have been displaced inside Syria, and 4.8 million have fled to nearby countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt since the conflict began in 2011. Neighboring countries are also experiencing clean water shortages as a result of the influx of refugees.

The U.N. Children’s Fund brings portable water to refugees in Syria and other affected nations as well as implements cost-effective, sustainable water systems for communities in need. UNICEF is also working to relieve nations hosting refugees by augmenting existing water, sewage and waste collection systems to accommodate the increased demand.

Other relief efforts headed by UNICEF include:

  •  Improving access to quality education;
  •  Children’s programming and protection services;
  •  Providing vaccinations and nutritional supplements;
  • Issuing emergency cash assistance to families in need;

You can help Syrian refugees by making a tax-deductible donation to UNICEF.

Cassie Lipp

Photo: Flickr

Refugees In Jordan
In the past five years, the Syrian Civil War has turned into one of the biggest humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Millions of civilians have been displaced from their homes and forced to flee to other countries. This has created a refugee crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen since World War II. Few countries have borne a greater brunt of this crisis then Jordan. Here are eight facts about refugees in Jordan.

  1. There was a massive flow of Syrian refugees into Jordan. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there were over 620,000 Syrians living in Jordan as of June 2015.
  2. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 80 percent of refugees in the country have adequate housing/shelter.
  3. A majority of Syrian refugees are being hosted by some of Jordan’s poorest communities with Amman, Irbid and Mafraq taking on over 76 percent of all Syrian refugees in Jordan. This is causing strain on public services and infrastructure and is creating tension between Jordanians and refugees.
  4. Many Syrian refugees lack basic services. Only 22 percent of refugee households have their basic domestic and hygiene needs meet. Additionally, 20 percent of refugee households do not have access to primary health care and 30 percent do not have access to tertiary health care.
  5. A large number of Syrian refugee children in Jordan are not receiving a proper education. Over 80,000 out of 226,000 children did not receive a formal education last year.
  6. Human Rights Watch explains that most of the barriers to children receiving education stem from unnecessary restrictions placed by the Jordanian government. These include unattainable registration requirements, bans on enrollment for children who haven’t been to school in three or more years and sanctions for refugees working without proper permits. By easing these restrictions, more children will be able to attend school.
  7. Syrian refugees are legally banned from participating in the formal Jordanian economy. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of refugees participate in informal jobs often in the construction or agricultural sectors.
  8. Despite the focus on the negative aspects of Syrian refugees in Jordan, there are a number of positive aspects as well. The influx of refugees has led to an increase in public investment in addition to a growth in the communication, manufacturing and construction sectors; all of which has led to a real GDP growth rate increase of 2.7 percent according to the World Bank.

While the situation in Jordan is problematic, it is by no means hopeless. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace outlines a number of measures that can be taken to help improve the lives of both Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens. Increased humanitarian and developmental aid can be implemented to help meet the basic needs of refugees.

Allowing refugees access to formal employment will help create a more sustainable situation by allowing refugees to become more self-sufficient. Greater governmental aid can be provided to the Jordanian government to improve their capacity to manage the situation.

James Long

Photo: Flickr

Refugees in Egypt
Here are 10 quick facts about refugees in Egypt:

  1. In 2015, over 180,000 individuals were registered as refugees in Egypt with the United Nations Refugee Agency, over 117,000 of which were from Syria.
  2. In 2015, the United Nations Refugee Agency had a total budget of over $80 million dedicated to helping refugees meet their basic needs, receive health care and gain access to education.
  3. The large majority of refugees in Egypt reside in urban areas. About 60 percent live in the greater Cairo area.
  4. Only 18.1 percent of refugees have access to basic hygienic and domestic household items. Only 27 percent of refugee women have sanitary supplies.
  5. About 20 percent of refugees don’t receive primary health care services and 40 percent don’t receive secondary and tertiary health care services.
  6. Approximately 40 percent of refugee children have access to national child protection services and in 2015 there were 149 cases of child abuse.
  7. Between 75 and 80 percent of children are enrolled in either primary or secondary school.
  8. Only 31 percent of working age refugees receive at least minimum wage for more than six months out of the year.
  9. Around 85 percent of refugees are either severely or highly vulnerable socioeconomically.
  10. In 2015, over 3,000 refugees were arrested attempting to illegally cross into Europe by sea.

Egypt is not a final destination for many of these refugees, instead it’s a transit stop to other places such as Europe.

The challenging economic conditions in the country and increasingly anti-refugee policies of the government are pushing more and more refugees toward potentially dangerous and illegal smuggling trips into Europe. Improving the conditions of these refugees in Egypt is of paramount importance.

James Long

Photo: Flickr

Education for Refugees is Essential for Development
In Jordan, many Syrian refugees are struggling to settle in. The refugees went there to avoid a difficult war but it is challenging to start a new life away from home. Muzoon is a 16-year-old “champion on education” in her community. She is determined to stop the current situation from destroying the future for her people.

Muzoon believes in chances and creating opportunities. She wants to build enthusiasm toward education for refugees in her generation. She is also keen on promoting values and being independent in her thoughts and practices. Muzoon was referred to as the “Malala” of Syrian refugees.

Muzoon appreciates and acknowledges the value of education. As a refugee in a camp managed by the United Nation’s Refugee Agency, she understands that education for refugees is a key component for development. Furthermore, it is also a basic human right and the United Nations strives to provide it to all refugee children.

Currently, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) takes care of 20 million refugees. Among these, 50% of the children are enrolled in primary education, 25% have access to secondary education and only 1% have access to tertiary education.

The UNHCR realizes that education is crucial for displaced communities. It serves the need for life skills and psychosocial needs. In addition to that, education promotes cohesion, provides access to valuable information and offers a safe environment.

Education for refugees is a great enabler. It provides capacity and opportunity for growth. With Syria’s war, there is a massive human crisis that requires a quick response. If refugees, especially the young generations are not educated, there is a chance of these children encountering future disadvantages such as poverty.

Just like any other major natural disaster, education deserves to be treated as of equal importance. However, providing education for refugees is a long-term cause and it will require long-term funding to achieve the development of the refugee community. An investment in education is even more important to girls. It reduces the chances of forced labor, early marriage and extremism. This investment will help young girls and refugees in general to avoid such risks and develop a purposeful life.

Furthermore, the British Council believes that the refugee community needs to be taught about hope. As an epic tragedy, the problem could have massive spillovers. Ensuring education for refugees is a key response to such a crisis.

The British Council works on integrating refugees into their new communities, especially the refugees moving to Europe, by providing language training to cope with the challenges in the new communities.

The British Council has a firm belief that humanitarian relief is very essential, but aid goes beyond simple relief. Since the scale of the crisis is huge, education will make a lasting difference.

Noman Ahmed

Photo: Flickr

The IKEA Foundation’s 2013 annual report celebrates a year of exciting achievements and a growing commitment to global development.

Established in 2009, the IKEA Foundation is the philanthropic entity associated with IKEA, the popular Swedish home furnishings company. In the past year, the foundation has gained 12 new partners and donated 101 million euros to those partner organizations, contributing to the continued implementation of innovative children’s programs. With the support of a new Brazilian partner organization, the IKEA Foundation has also been able to reach children in South America for the first time. In addition, a number of partners have also started to develop emergency shelters for displaced refugees.

Compared to the total monetary donation in 2012 (82 million euros), the IKEA Foundation’s 2013 contribution saw a 21 percent overall increase in giving. IKEA’s Soft Toys for Education campaign raised 10.1 million euros and helped 11 million children. Moreover, the foundation’s projects throughout 2013 impacted children in 35 different countries.

The IKEA Foundation focuses on four areas of development: fighting child labor and promoting children’s rights, improving the lives of refugee children and families, empowering women and girls as well as disaster relief. The foundation also funds education projects for children and works to change current social attitudes towards child labor in developing communities. In 2013, the IKEA Foundation helped UNICEF and Save the Children fight child labor in India and Pakistan. By reaching out to farmers, families and other community leaders, the foundation hopes to raise awareness of the dangers that children face in the workplace – specifically, in the cotton, carpet and metalware industries. Additionally, the foundation’s new partnership with Care for Children is helping place orphans into supportive and loving families in Asia.

In conjunction with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the IKEA Foundation is working to develop safer and more durable emergency shelters for refugees. Innovative additions (such as solar lighting) are expected to increase the lifespan of current refugee camps. Last year, UNHCR began experimenting with the reworked shelters in Ethiopia, taking into account the feedback provided by refugee families living in the newly developed camps.

The IKEA Foundation continues to support KickStart, a partner organization that trains women in southern Africa to grow and sell crops, launch their own businesses and establish a reliable income. The foundation also expanded the number of scholarship opportunities for women and girls to get an education. Currently, the IKEA Foundation’s partnership with the Lila Poonawalla Foundation helps 1,900 poor Indian women pursue higher education in fields like engineering, agriculture and healthcare.

By giving cash grants to its partners, the IKEA Foundation strives to help families immediately after disasters and other conflicts. During the past year, partner organizations used IKEA’s grants to provide medical care to Syrian refugees. After Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, many partners brought emergency supplies to devastated communities. The IKEA Foundation itself has donated IKEA toys and products to around 1.2 million affected children around the world.

The IKEA Foundation has clearly expanded its goals and reached several new milestones in 2013, but CEO Per Heggenes believes that the foundation has more to offer. “The journey continues,” he wrote, “and we still have lots to accomplish.”

– Kristy Liao

Sources: IKEA Foundation
Photo: INiTs