Swedish furniture and homewares retailer Ikea has pledged significant amounts of financial support to the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, it was revealed today.
Built in 1990, Dadaab has seen a dramatic surge in new arrivals in recent years thanks to the conflict seen in neighbouring Somalia, and the drought experienced across east Africa this year has pushed resident numbers passed 440,000 people despite the complex only being designed for 90,000.
Through its charitable arm Ikea Foundation, the retail group has offered $62 million (£38 million) to help those disposed in the area, the largest private donation that the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has received in its 60-year history.
António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Head of the UNHCR, said: “This humanitarian gesture by the Ikea Foundation comes at a critical time.
“The crisis in the Horn of Africa continues to deepen with thousands of people fleeing Somalia every week. We are extremely grateful. Help like this can’t come a moment too soon.”
The Ikea Foundation focuses primarily on improving the opportunities of young people around the globe, with programmes currently underway estimated to be helping 100 million children.
With so many malnourished and sick people arriving at the Dadaab camp daily, medical and food supplies are desperately needed and UNHCR hopes that Ikea’s investment will benefit around 120,000 people living in the complex.
Per Heggenes, CEO of the Ikea Foundation, commented: “This initiative is a bold but natural extension of Ikea Foundation’s longstanding commitment to making a better everyday life for children and families in need throughout the developing world.
“Supporting UNHCR, both immediately and over the long term, is one of the most effective ways to immediately make a difference in the lives of thousands of refugee children and their families.”