Take Shelter: Ikea Designs DIY Homes for Refugees

refugee camp


Ikea Foundation has teamed up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) to use Ikea’s DIY approach as an affordable solution for sheltering refugees. In July, easy to assemble, lightweight homes will be brought to Ethiopia for beta testing before the company begins mass production.


What do you do when a flash mob of a million homeless refugees shows up to your third world country from the neighboring third world country? Make them sleep on the hot (or cold) ground and wait for the United Nations to show up with crappy tents, of course.

Until next month, that is, when you’ll be able to put them up in solar-powered huts on the cheap. In July, Ikea Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) will roll out one of the major innovations for war-torn homeless since the canvas tent: cheap, flat-packed, build-it-yourself homes with electricity-generating roofs.

More than 43 million people–globally–live as refugees or “internally displaced” (refugees within their own countries), having fled home due to “a well-founded fear of persecution” of race, religion, nationality, or socio-political membership. Right now, 3.5 million of them live in UN-provided tents, says Per Heggenes, CEO of the Ikea Foundation. “They offer little comfort, dignity, or security,” he continues. “Further, the existing tents are cold in the winter and hot in the summer. They have no electricity or lighting, limiting refugee families’ ability to lead a normal life.”…Continue Reading



Niki is currently exploring Asia while working on a children’s book series about travel. As a child, she traveled and moved often for her parents’ jobs. As a result of this, she has always felt most at home when she’s off and away. She is interested in international films, working on building an impressive tea collection, and can often be found with her camera in hand. You can have a look-see at her blog and follow her on Twitter @nikidding.

Ikea foundation refugee homes: Feature photo by FreedomHouse


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The Culture-ist