Why a furniture company is employing Jordanian women and refugees.

As the refugee crisis in numerous countries continues to grow, several companies are using their platform to help.

One of those is IKEA. The Swedish furniture company has partnered with the Jordan River Foundation to provide job opportunities for Jordanian women and refugees.

All photos courtesy of IKEA.


The first part of the partnership has culminated in the Tilltalande collection — a collection of co-created handcrafted textiles. Over 100 artisans are currently part of the initiative, and that number is expected to reach 400 by the end of 2020.

Vaishali Misra, business leader of the Social Entrepreneurs Initiative at IKEA, thinks it's just one of the many ways the company can put action behind its belief in a quality standard of living for people around the world.

"A sustainable world that provides a great quality of life for many people, respects human rights and protects the environment is possible," Misra writes. "We can provide economic opportunities and empower people so they are able to better provide for themselves and their families."

IKEA is showing mega corporations around the world how to put their dollars behind their mission.

By making women and refugee hires a priority, IKEA is making a bold statement: People from around the world matter, and they deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. The company stands by this ideology by providing steady year-round jobs, aiming to create sustainable job experiences that are safe and fair for employees.

"Each artisan is paid a salary equal or above the legal monthly minimum wage set by Jordanian government," Misra adds. "They also receive social security benefits and insurance."

As millions of people flee war-torn countries and unsafe territory, families are not only displaced, they're forced to start over.

People who previously had careers and a reliable means to support themselves are forced to begin their lives over again in a new place. Large companies around the globe have steadily become involved, creating space to support those living in or seeking asylum from vulnerable locations.

"The current international refugee crisis is one of the greatest, most complex humanitarian challenges of our generation," Misra says. "Today, the number of people displaced from their homes by violence and persecution is unprecedented in human history. More than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced and nearly a third — more than 22 million — are living outside of their countries as refugees, according to The U.N. Refugee Agency. At IKEA, we think being an active member of our local communities is an important part of how we realize our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people. We feel compassion for our neighbors and especially want to help others less fortunate."

The collaboration's success has created a ripple effect in supporting lasting economic development for women and refugees.

Committed to serving people in vulnerable communities around the world, IKEA is working to support positive social and economic development by collaborating with artisans in rural India, Romania, and Thailand and working with partners in countries like Uganda, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and Croatia, just to name a few.

"We are of course committed to supporting refugee communities, but also seek and promote partnerships that can impact the well-being of other communities as well," Misra writes. "Our social entrepreneur partnerships help individuals in underserved communities learn the skills and acquire the resources to bring about a lasting change in their lives."

As the company looks toward how to be impactful in the future, it's clear that they've already gotten a pretty great start.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling the weight of it growing heavier and heavier. We miss normal life. We miss our friends. We miss travel. We miss not having to mentally measure six feet everywhere we go.

Maybe that's what was on Edmund O'Leary's mind when he tweeted on Friday. Or maybe he had some personal issues or challenges he was dealing with. After all, it's not like people didn't struggle pre-COVID. Now, we just have the added stress of a pandemic on top of our normal mental and emotional upheavals.

Whatever it was, Edmund decided to reach out to Twitter and share what he was feeling.

"I am not ok," he wrote. "Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you."

O'Leary didn't have a huge Twitter following, but somehow his tweet started getting around quickly. Response after response started flowing in from all over the world, even from some famous folks. Thousands of people seemed to resonate with Edmund's sweet and honest call for help and rallied to send him support and good cheer.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

The subject of late-term abortions has been brought up repeatedly during this election season, with President Trump making the outrageous claim that Democrats are in favor of executing babies.

This message grossly misrepresents what late-term abortion actually is, as well as what pro-choice advocates are actually "in favor of." No one is in favor of someone having a specific medical procedure—that would require being involved in someone's individual medical care—but rather they are in favor of keeping the government out of decisions about specific medical procedures.

Pete Buttigieg, who has become a media surrogate for the Biden campaign—and quite an effective one at that—addressed this issue in a Fox News town hall when he was on the campaign trail himself. When Chris Wallace asked him directly about late-term abortions, Buttigieg answered Wallace's questions is the best way possible.

"Do you believe, at any point in pregnancy, whether it's at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever, that there should be any limit on a woman's right to have an abortion?" Wallace asked.

Keep Reading Show less

When it comes to the topic of race, we all have questions. And sometimes, it honestly can be embarrassing to ask perfectly well-intentioned questions lest someone accuse you of being ignorant, or worse, racist, for simply admitting you don't know the answer.

America has a complicated history with race. For as long as we've been a country, our culture, politics and commerce have been structured in a way to deny our nation's past crimes, minimize the structural and systemic racism that still exists and make the entire discussion one that most people would rather simply not have.

For example, have you ever wondered what's really behind the term Black Pride? Is it an uplifting phrase for the Black community or a divisive term? Most people instinctively put the term "White Pride" in a negative context. Is there such a thing as non-racist, racial pride for white people? And while we're at it, what about Asian people, Native Americans, and so on?

Yes, a lot of people raise these questions with bad intent. But if you've ever genuinely wanted an answer, either for yourself or so that you best know how to handle the question when talking to someone with racist views, writer/director Michael McWhorter put together a short, simple and irrefutable video clip explaining why "White Pride" isn't a real thing, why "Black Pride" is and all the little details in between.


Keep Reading Show less