Since August, 20 Somalian refugee families have been living in Ethiopia inside prototype homes. The prototypes are lightweight, durable, insulated, cheap, and developed by Refugee Housing Unit and funded by the Ikea Foundation.
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Conventional refugee housing is less than ideal. Sometimes little more than cloth tents, they allows very little privacy. This is especially true at night, when any lights from inside cast shadows on the tent walls.
These prototype units use a polymer that lets in sunlight, but blocks shadows. It takes only two people to carry a shelter, and in true Ikea fashion, they come flat packed. They also have an expected lifespan of three years, six times longer than traditional tents.
If the houses out-survive the crisis, they designed to be disassembled, moved, and rebuild elsewhere.
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