How To Support Refugees While You Shop

As if we didn't love Ikea enough already, the Swedish furniture giant just gave us another reason to waste our money on tealights and scoff its legendary meatballs.

The company just announced plans, beginning in 2019, to sell a range of rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees. The move will create jobs for around 200 people, most of them women living in Jordan, CNN reported.

The products will be part of a limited edition run sold locally and in other Middle Eastern countries that have free trade agreements with Jordan.

"The situation in Syria is a major tragedy of our time, and Jordan has taken a great responsibility in hosting Syrian refugees," Jesper Brodin, a managing director at Ikea, told CNN. "We decided to look into how Ikea can contribute."

Ikea began work on the project before Donald Trump's executive order capping the number of refugees that can be admitted to the US, banning Syrian refugees indefinitely and preventing the entry of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

This is just the latest initiative from the company in support of refugees. Its not-for-profit Ikea Foundation has been instrumental in raising funds for the cause, and recently won a prestigious design award for its flat-pack refugee shelter developed with the UNHCR. More than 16,000 'Better Shelters' have been deployed to crisis locations including Nepal, Iraq and Yemen.

By shopping at Ikea, then, you're showing support for the company's philanthropy and its projects aimed at helping those most in need.

Ikea isn't the only organisation working with refugees, however, and making well-considered purchases is a straightforward way to support other companies doing their bit.

While making a one-off donation or setting up a direct debit to charities such as the Refugee Council, Red Cross or Syria Relief is the most obvious (and most effective) way to help those fleeing war-torn countries, buying the right products can also help.
So put your money where your mouth is and vote with your feet. Swap items you'd usually buy for ethical alternatives, and opt for companies and services that support or donate money to refugees. Here are some small purchases that could make a difference.