Thursday 27 April 2017

Ikea to sell rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees to provide jobs for those displaced by civil war

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Zlata Rodionova

Ikea is planning to sell a line of rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees in 2019, in an effort to provide jobs to people displaced by the civil war.

The move will create jobs for 200 refugees, most of them women, currently living in Jordan, according to CNN.

Jesper Brodin, range and supply manager at Ikea, described the situation in Syria as “a major tragedy of our time” adding that Jordan has taken great responsibility in hosting people displaced by Syria’s civil war.

“We decided to look into how Ikea can contribute,” Mr Brodin told CNN.

The products will be sold locally and in other Middle Eastern countries with free trade agreements with Jordan.

More than 650,000 Syrians are registered as refugees in Jordan, according to the United Nations. Last year the Government of Jordan pledged to issue up to 200,000 work permits for Syrians to allow them to work legally alongside Jordanians.

This is not the first time Ikea has responded to the refugee crisis.

A flat-pack refugee shelter designed by Ikea, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),  was crowned design of the year in last year's prestigious Beazley competition.

Thousands of flat-pack shelters, intended to last for around three years, were sent to humanitarian crisis points around the world as refugees faced freezing temperatures in Europe this winter.

Ikea’s latest initiative was reportedly already in development before President Donald Trump released his executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for a period of 90 days as well as temporarily halting the entire US refugee programme.

In a letter to employees published online on Monday, Ikea’s country manager for the US, Lars Petersson, said the company is committed to supporting impacted co-workers and their families by providing free legal advice.

Ikea also offered to provide counsellors to help with “the emotional toll this situation may take on employees and their families".

“Our Ikea values clearly tell us that leadership is taking action and standing up for what we believe in. That is why we are committed to continuing to stand for the dignity and rights of everyone,” Mr Petersson said.

Independent News Service

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