IKEA Foundation commits EUR 6.7 million to Better Shelter’s Emergency Fund, in support of Sudanese refugees

The IKEA Foundation has announced a generous pledge of EUR 6.7 million to Better Shelter’s emergency fund. This substantial contribution aims to support the distribution of vital shelters to aid relief efforts in neighbouring countries, providing safety for Sudanese refugees fleeing the ongoing conflict. With only 16% of the required funding secured thus far, the IKEA Foundation’s commitment brings a ray of hope to a dire humanitarian situation.

Since April 15, when conflict erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), nearly 1.6 million people have been displaced within Sudan and neighbouring nations. A majority of these refugees are women and children. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that Sudan was already grappling with a severe humanitarian crisis, with over 15 million people suffering from food insecurity and more than 3.7 million internally displaced. In addition, the country was hosting over one million refugees, primarily from South Sudan.

Urgent need for assistance

The relentless fighting shows no signs of abating, and prospects for peace in the near future remain bleak, according to experts. As the violence intensifies, the number of displaced individuals is expected to rise. The displaced individuals, those fortunate enough to escape the conflict, urgently require temporary shelters, food and water, healthcare, and psychosocial support. Their basic needs for survival and stability must be addressed promptly.

Better Shelter’s response

Thanks to the support of the IKEA Foundation, Better Shelter can immediately deploy 3,000 temporary shelters to provide safety and protection for Sudanese refugees. Each shelter is designed to better withstand the arid and hot climate, featuring two doors to enhance ventilation. Developed in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), these modular shelters have been deployed in over 80 countries worldwide, serving not just as temporary homes but also as classrooms and clinics. Their versatility and ease of assembly, requiring no tools and taking just a few hours, make them well-suited for remote locations.

A symbol of safety and dignity

The mission shared by Better Shelter, the UNHCR, and the IKEA Foundation is to ensure the safety and dignity of those displaced by conflicts and disasters, providing them with a path to a peaceful life in a permanent home. The shelters go beyond the provision of physical protection, serving as spaces for mental healing and recovery from traumatic experiences. Each shelter is equipped with a lockable door to enhance safety and privacy and comes with a solar-powered portable lamp.

Words of support and urgency

“I am deeply concerned by the recent developments in Sudan. The fighting has resulted in hundreds of thousands fleeing to safer areas, facing insecurity and food and water shortages. Thanks to the IKEA Foundation’s generous support, we will shelter 15,000 people who have fled the violence in Sudan. Shelter is a basic human need that offers not only physical protection against the outside world but a safe space for mental healing and recovery from traumatic experiences.”

“The conflict is devastating; more people are predicted to flee into neighbouring countries, and the needs are mounting by the day. We call on the international community to urgently provide the support needed to the people affected by the fighting.”

Johan Mast, acting Managing Director, Better Shelter

“The violence in Sudan is a devastating human tragedy. It is our responsibility to alleviate the suffering of those caught in the crossfire. We strongly urge other funders to join us in delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance to Sudan. Let’s come together and make a tangible difference in the lives of those devastated by the conflict. We call on all parties to protect health facilities and enable safe humanitarian access.”

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation