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 Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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