In addition to being the most popular home retailer in the world, IKEA wants to help change it for the better. Its brand new collection TILLTALANDE features precious, hand-crafted textiles made in collaboration with Jordan River Foundation and women artisans. Not only are Jordanian locals creating these pieces, but they are working alongside Syrian refugees. While 100 artisans are
employed by the initiative now, that number will double during next year and is expected to reach 400 by the end of 2020
"It’s about co-creating great design while creating jobs for more than
100 women; equally divided between Jordanian locals and refugees,
ending up with unique products that are affordable to many," says AnnSofie
Gunnarsson, partner development leader social entrepreneurs at IKEA of Sweden.
"Handicraft is not only a career, or a way to sustain one’s livelihood, it’s a lifeline," explains Tahani Al Khatib, an artisan from Palestine working for IKEA and Jordan River Foundation. Abeer Almnajed, a refugee from Damascus
working on the project agrees. "I spend all my free time helping my children with their homework. Thanks to this job I hope to be able to afford a better school,"she says.
We love that not only is this collection helping support and empower these women, but they also are helping preserve their craft. "Weaving Bedouin rugs is a delicate art," shares Amneh Al Gawanmeh, a weaver at the Bani Hamida weaving center for Jordan River Foundation. "I learned and inherited the craft from my mother. Every rug we weave is produced with passion and hard labor. It’s an ode to our heritage." Faridon Abida, a designer at Jordan River Foundation, adds, "Together we create products that are traditional with a modern twist.”
The new, limited edition collection will be available at the IKEA Brooklyn store near the end of June.