Philanthropy looks good on you, Ikea

Let’s end this week acknowledging that there is still good in this world.  While many of us expect the low profile projects of corporations to be pure profit driven evil inspired by the latest exploitative trend, it’s uplifting (and surprising) to see a giant like Ikea using its expertise in the economy furniture industry to redesign the tents used in refugee camps.

Their hard plastic tents offer a door for more privacy and solar panels with a “fabric shade net” to help heat up cold nights and cool down hot days (a huge problem in the canvas tents normally used).  According to this NPR article, the Ikea version is also more spacious and lasts for 3 years versus the 6 month lifespan of the canvas tent.  It is also more expensive ($7,500 vs. $500 for a canvas tent) but once mass produced, Ikea is estimating the cost to be $1,000.  Considering the scary statistic that refugees spend an average of 12 years in displaced, temporary communities, the upgrade is a good human investment.

i tent outside_600

inside the tent

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