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IKEA has been furnishing homes around the world for years. It has also been providing humanitarian aid to some of the world’s neediest people, including those fleeing the violence in Libya.

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Distribution of the IKEA mattresses in Choucha camp. © UNHCR/R.Nuri

The world’s largest home furnishing company, through the IKEA Foundation, is donating some of its bedroom products to the forcibly displaced in Tunisia under a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR.)

This May, UNHCR staff began distributing thousands of mattresses, duvets (quilts) and duvet covers to refugees and migrant workers living in tents at Choucha camp, which is located close to the Ras Adjir crossing on Tunisia’s border with Libya. Tens of thousands of people have passed through the camp after fleeing from the violence that has been sweeping Libya since mid-February.

Some of the items were also distributed in Remada camp, further south, among Libyan refugees displaced by fighting in the Western Mountains. UNHCR plans to include IKEA mattresses and duvets in aid packages for Libyan families staying with host communities in the provinces of Tataouine and Medinine, which are together hosting up to 50,000 Libyan refugees.

The IKEA Foundation has pledged 50,000 mattresses, 50,000 duvets and 50,000 duvet covers for UNHCR’s operation to help those displaced by the violence in Libya. The first 10,000 mattresses were flown to Tunisia free of charge by UPS, another of UNHCR’s corporate partners. The remaining items are due to arrive in Tunisia over the next month.

According to the IKEA Foundation,

One of the areas that IKEA Foundation has chosen to focus on is refugees of conflicts and natural disasters – one of the world’s most vulnerable groups – to help them prepare for reclaiming their everyday lives more quickly and more fully.

Since mid-February, more than 400,000 people have fled to Tunisia from Libya, including Tunisians, Libyans, refugees, asylum-seekers and migrant workers.

The IKEA Foundation has donated cash, goods and services worth more than $10 million to the UN Refugee Agency since October 2010. Its generosity has also helped forcibly displaced people in Kyrgyzstan and Somali refugees in Kenya.

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