Eyes wide open

Pierre Portelange

The last call for our return flight is announced while we share our last feelings. We look at each other before starting to speak. A moment of silence: where to start? There is so much to say, so many emotions to share.

Our IWitness group. We have shared so much! Picture by Ann Luyckx.

Our IWitness group. We have shared so much! Picture by Ann Luyckx.

The families living here still have hopes of going back to the country they hold in their hearts. It was really hard to leave it and going to Jordan or Europe is only a rescue option. The only thing they care about is family, and it’s the love for their families that keeps them strong.

We are so grateful to have shared moments together with them, impressed by their strength, touched by the engagement of the humanitarian organisations and, above all, proud to belong to IKEA, who really makes a difference.

All the organisations (IWitness partipants, IKEA Foundation, UNHCR) are heading in the same direction in Azraq camp: to help the refugees. Picture by Baptiste Collard.

All the organisations (IWitness partipants, IKEA Foundation, UNHCR) are heading in the same direction in Azraq camp: to help the refugees. Picture by Baptiste Collard.

Nevertheless, there is still so much that remains to be done. Arantxa from UNHCR, our energetic guide, explained to us: “When the humanitarian organisations see light at the end of the tunnel, it is the train coming to them at a very high speed.”

But at IKEA, we turn challenges into opportunities. The best example is the project of the solar power farm, based on the idea of Per, CEO at the IKEA Foundation.

It is fully funded by the IKEA Foundation and will provide electricity to the refugees of Azraq camp, who need it badly. It is a global premiere and a front runner project and it inspires other organisations to think more long-term. The return on investment is only two years, which makes this project completely economic and ecological. It is thanks to the engagement of our co-workers and customers that we can fund such an exciting project.

 Today, refugees stay on average 17 years outside their country of origin. We have to support these kids growing up. Picture by Baptiste Collard.


Today, refugees stay on average 17 years outside their country of origin. We have to support these kids growing up. Picture by Baptiste Collard.

This trip has lit a fire in our hearts. One of the fascinating characteristics of fire is that you can light as many candles as you wish, they will never go out. We hope that our testimonials will touch your heart, and break the armouries of indifference, fear and misunderstanding.

One of the streets of Azraq where there are no streetlights yet. By Baptiste Collard.

One of the streets of Azraq where there are no streetlights yet. By Baptiste Collard.

Discussing with the families opened our eyes, more than any presentation could ever do. In this way, the IWitness experience was an incredible opportunity but also a responsibility. Our mission now is to share their messages, their pain. We have to wake up the world, shake some souls and open our eyes.

You only need one look to change the way you see the world. Picture by Baptiste Collard.

You only need one look to change the way you see the world. Picture by Baptiste Collard.

 

 

Pierre Portelange

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pierre Portelange

I have worked at IKEA Anderlecht for nine years, currently as a BAM Logistics. I am very excited to go to Jordan because I like to discover new things and to meet new people. For sure I will be surprised by the people I am going to meet. Outside of work I like to do capoeira (a Brazilian martial art) and I am also active in a role playing game association. I hope I can bring back lots of stories to tell to my colleagues of IKEA Belgium.

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One thought on “Eyes wide open

  1. Helen Ashna

    Dear Pierre,
    Thank you for everything you do for others. Your Heart must be as big as Texas ! ( very very big) May God Bless you abundantly for your heart of gold. Carry my Love and Prayers with you to every part of the world. What a Wonderful Opportunity and Responsibility you have been assigned. May Angels go with you.
    – Ms. Helen Ashna

    Reply

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