There are nearly 10.5 million refugees around the world, and nearly half of them are children. When the sun sets, many of these people displaced by either environmental or political catastrophe live in the dark, which curbs their ability to conduct everyday functions like using the toilet, studying and doing income-producing work. To address this enormous energy shortfall, IKEA and the UN refugee agency United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced that they are launching a new program called Brighter Lives for Refugees that brings solar-powered lamps to refugee camps.

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The absence of powered light in refugee camps severely limits every day activities to daylight hours and can make collecting water, going to the bathroom, reading schoolbooks or making a living inconvenient – if not impossible. From February 3 to March 29,2014, the IKEA Foundation will donate one Euro or about $1.37 for every IKEA LEDARE – LED bulb sold in IKEA stores around the world. The funds will help provide solar street lamps and indoor lanterns in UNHCR refugee camps, improve power supply and renewable energy technologies, and boost primary school education in refugee camps in countries such as Ethiopia, Chad, Bangladesh and Jordan. Providing light to refugee camps will make them safer and more suitable homes for children and families.

Since 2010, the IKEA Foundation has partnered with UNHCR to provide shelter, care and education to families and children in refugee camps and surrounding communities. “This campaign represents a new, unique chapter in our relationship with the IKEA Foundation, UNHCR’s largest private sector partner. Together, we hope to be able to transform the lives of many refugees,” says António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Photos by Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia (Homework Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons and by Myriam Thyes (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons