From 2019 the Swedish furniture giant’s products will be sold locally and in other Middle Eastern countries with free trade agreements with Jordan, providing jobs for those displaced by civil war.
Ikea plans to roll out a new range of rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees in 2019.
The initiative is expected to create jobs for about 200 Syrian refugees living in Jordan, most of them women. "The situation in Syria is a major tragedy of our time, and Jordan has taken a great responsibility in hosting Syrian refugees… We decided to look into how Ikea can contribute," said Jesper Brodin, a managing director at Ikea.
The products will be part of a limited edition run
Ikea said it’s in the process of working with local organisations that focus on women’s issues to get the project up and running. Jordan has accepted just over 655,000 Syrian refugees, according to the United Nations.
Recent data from the UN shows about 37,000 work permits have been issued in Jordan for Syrian refugees, though many Syrians work without permits. There’s a very low rate of employment among women, who are traditionally tasked with taking care of children.
Ikea said it would work with local organisations to ensure the hours were flexible for women who were caring for family members. The rugs and textiles will be sold locally and in other Middle Eastern markets that have free trade agreements with Jordan. The Swedish furniture giant said the products will be part of a limited edition run.
There are well over half a million Syrians (655,000) registered with the United National High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in the country. The vast majority (80%) live in the local community and the remainder in refugee camps. Over three quarters (78%) are women and children. Nearly all (93%) live below the poverty line.
IKEA has launched an initiative that it hopes will help – by providing jobs. Partnering with local non-profit organisations, the Swedish furniture giant plans to start a line of textiles and rugs made by Syrian refugees, mostly women, working alongside Jordanians.
“After shelter and basic needs are taken care of, the next thing is really how to integrate people into society,” explained Jesper Brodin, IKEA’s head of range and supply in an interview.
“The products will be a mix of local artisans’ and IKEA’s knowledge of design, as well as regional designers,” he said, adding: “It’s to create something new that our customers can be excited about and that people can be proud of.”
IKEA aims to launch the collection in 2019, with the first group starting work in September 2017. Initially the products will be sold in the Middle East but in the future could reach the shores of the EU.