Better Shelter

For years, millions of families seeking shelter from war and other turmoil have had to live in refugee tents made of little more than tarps thrown over wooden or metal frames. In some cases, this antiquated method of housing turns out to be the family’s only home for a decade or more.

Fortunately, the IKEA Foundation has teamed up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to design the “Better Shelter,” which is safer, sturdier, easy to transport and assemble, and can house five people at a time. It boasts built-in solar panels that can charge batteries and power four hours of LED lighting at night, and can better protect its inhabitants from rain, heat, and wind for up to three years — six times longer than the lifespan of tents used in many refugee camps today.

After two years of design work and testing them with 40 refugee families in Ethiopia and Iraq, Better Shelters and IKEA announced plans to produce 10,000 of them starting this year.


“Putting refugee families and their needs at the heart of this project is a great example of how democratic design can be used for humanitarian value,” IKEA Foundation spokesman Jonathan Spampinato said in a statement. “Refugee families and children can have a safer place to call home.”

LEARN more about their design in this Better Shelters video below.

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