UNHCR turns on new solar plant in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp funded by IKEA Foundation

Azraq, 2017-May-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, switched on today (17 May 2017) the newly constructed solar plant in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp. Funded by the IKEA Foundation’s Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, the solar farm has brought power to a population that lived for two years without electricity and will contribute to the Jordan national energy strategy to achieve a green economy by 2020.

The 2-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) plant provides electricity to 20,000 Syrian refugees living in almost 5,000 shelters in Azraq camp, covering the energy needs of the two villages connected to the national grid. Each family can now connect a fridge, a TV, a fan, have light inside the shelter and charge their phones, which is critical for refugees to keep in contact with their relatives abroad.

Azraq camp opened its doors in April 2014 and is located in a desert area in northern Jordan, with hot summers and harsh winters. The lack of electricity has been one of the main challenges faced by its residents, making daily activities difficult, such as cooking, washing the clothes, studying or walking safely to the washroom at night, especially for women and children.

The introduction of electricity will help address these challenges and significantly improve the well-being of Azraq residents. For the last two years, refugees have been living with the sole support of solar lanterns distributed on their arrival and 476 solar street lights installed in one of the villages, both funded by the IKEA Foundation.

The Azraq’s solar farm is the first solar plant built in a refugee setting in the world. In Jordan, where the cost of electricity is high, the solar plant will allow UNHCR to provide electricity to Azraq camp residents free of cost, savings that will be invested in other needed assistance.

The solar farm will result in immediate savings of US$ 1.5 million per year and it will reduce CO2 emissions by 2,370 tons per year. Once the solar plant is upgraded from 2 to 5 Megawatts and operating at full capacity, it will produce three times these savings and reduction in CO2 emissions and cover all of Azraq’s energy needs. Connected to the national grid, any extra electricity generated will be sent back free of cost, supporting the host community energy needs.

The construction of the Azraq solar plant has also meant an income opportunity to over 50 refugees who have been trained and employed to help build the solar farm under the supervision of the Jordanian solar company Mustakbal, which led the works on site. Part of these refugees will be also in charge of the maintenance works in the future.

“Today marks a milestone. Lighting up the camp is not only a symbolic achievement; it provides a safer environment for all camp residents, opens up livelihoods opportunities, and gives children the chance to study after dark. Above all, it allows all residents of the camps to lead more dignified lives,” said Kelly T. Clements, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner. “Once again the partnership between IKEA Foundation and UNHCR has shown how we can embrace new technologies, innovation and humanity while helping refugees.”

The solar plant, which cost 8.75 million euros, has been entirely funded by the IKEA Foundation through the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign that raised 30.8 million euro for UNHCR projects. For each LED light-bulb sold during the campaign period, the IKEA Foundation donated 1 euro to UNHCR to bring renewable energy and education to refugees.

“The world’s first solar farm in a refugee camp signals a paradigm shift in how the humanitarian sector supports displaced populations. UNHCR Jordan will save millions of dollars, while reducing carbon emissions and improving living conditions for some of the world’s most vulnerable children and families”, said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation. “We are very grateful to everyone involved—especially the IKEA customers and co-workers who took part in the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, the UNHCR, the Jordanian government, EDCO, and most of all, the Syrian and Jordanian people who made this project a reality”, he concluded.

Providing renewable energy sources to refugees and their host communities is one of the priorities for UNHCR globally. Innovative partnerships such us the one with IKEA Foundation help UNHCR find forward looking and sustainable solutions for the refugee community.

For more information please contact:

[ENG] Olga Sarrado Mur
UNHCR External Relations
sarrado@unhcr.org
962 79 761 7799

[ARA] Mohammad Hawari
UNHCR External Relations
hawari@unhcr.org,
+962 79 895 6781

Radu Dumitraşcu
Communications Manager
IKEA Foundation
radu.dumitrascu@ikeafoundation.org
+31 6 556 98 570<

Source: IKEA

Fast Retailing allocates US $1 million out of USD $10 million fund to UNHCR for emergency assistance in South Sudan

Berlin, Germany, 2016-Oct-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. today (2016.10.11) announced that it will allocate US $1 million out of a USD $10 million fund to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, for emergency assistance to internally displaced people in South Sudan.

Fast Retailing began to collaborate with the UNHCR in 2006 and entered into a global partnership with the agency in 2011- a first for a company headquartered in Asia. In November 2015, Fast Retailing pledged USD$ 10 million over three years starting in 2016, covering the needs of displaced people in Asia to become self-reliant and to respond to acute emergencies around the world. The allocation of US$ 1 million is in response to the on-going humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

Source: FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.

UN refugee agency UNHCR thanks IKEA customers and co-workers for supporting ‘Brighter Lives for Refugees’

Conshohocken, PA, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, thanks IKEA customers and co-workers for supporting ‘Brighter Lives for Refugees’, a global cause-related campaign that raised $11.6 million* for refugees this year. In just the US, IKEA raised over $1 million and sold 1,031,275 LEDARE bulbs. The campaign ran in IKEA stores globally from February 1 to March 28, 2015. During this period, for every LED light bulb purchased by an IKEA customer, the IKEA Foundation donated $1 to UNHCR. The funds raised by the campaign will help improve the lives of 380,000 refugees in Bangladesh, Chad, Ethiopia and Jordan by providing education opportunities, solar street lights, solar lanterns and other renewable energy solutions.

Since the campaign started in 2014, these activities have been accomplished:

  • 11,000 Syrian refugees living in Azraq camp in Jordan are able to move around safely after approximately 500 solar street lights and LED street lights were installed.
  • Over 40,000 families living in refugee camps around Dollo Ado in Ethiopia will have a life after dark as 40,000 solar lanterns and 240 street lights are being delivered now.
  • Over 13,000 refugee children are enrolled in primary school in Chad so they can continue with their education.

“The number of displaced people worldwide has, for the first time since World War II, exceeded 50 million people, including 13 million refugees who are under UNHCR’s care. In this context, the engagement of the public worldwide through our long-standing partner the IKEA Foundation has never been more important. I greatly appreciate the efforts of IKEA co-workers and the support of the customers who participated in this global campaign so that we can make the lives of thousands of refugees better and brighter,” said UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff.

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation added, “thanks to IKEA’s co-workers and customers, thousands of refugee children and families will now have access to sustainable energy and lighting. Simple activities like sharing a family meal, doing homework and important social gatherings will now be possible for some of the most vulnerable people on our planet.”

*one euro = $1.08 US dollar 4/7/2015

Contact: Mona Astra Liss. IKEA US Corporate PR Director. Mona.Liss@IKEA.com. 610.834.0180, ext. 5852

About IKEA Group
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 315 IKEA Group stores in 27 countries. Additionally, there are 40 IKEA stores run by franchises. There are 40 IKEA stores in the US. In FY 14, IKEA Group had 716 million visitors to the stores and 1.5 billion visitors to IKEA.com. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, please visit www.IKEA.com, facebook.com/IKEAUSA, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA, http://pinterest.com/IKEAUSA/, www.youtube.com/IKEAUSA, www.theshare-space.com, www.theshare-space.com/en/Blog

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Swedish home furnishings company IKEA, aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income. Learn more at www.IKEAfoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation

About UNHCR
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 8,600 people in more than 125 countries continues to help some 33.9 million persons. Learn more at www.unhcr.org and www.facebook.com/UNHCR

Press Contact Information

USA CORPORATE PUBLIC RELATIONS
Mona Astra Liss
1-610-834-0180 x 5852

USA PRODUCT PUBLIC RELATIONS
Janice Simonsen
1-610-834-0180 x 6349

USA EXPANSION
Joseph Roth
1-610-834-0180 x 6500