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Supporting Refugees

Last Updated: 2024.02.09
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As a global business, Fast Retailing recognizes the serious nature of the rising refugee crisis across the world. We work with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and other organizations to donate clothing, provide employment opportunities in our stores, and manage self-reliance programs to help support people in these trying circumstances.

Supporting Refugees

Clothing Donations through Reuse and Recycle Activities

UNIQLO works with UNHCR to collect clothing no longer needed by customers and donates these items to refugees and internally displaced persons. We donated approximately 4.16 million items in FY2023. That brings the total number of donations since our program began to roughly 54.63 million items (2006 to end August 2023).

Clothing Donations (as of August 2023)
54,630,000 items
80 countries and regions
*Includes non-refugee beneficiaries

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Employing Refugees in Group Stores

UNIQLO Japan began working with the RHQ (Refugee Assistance Headquarters) and other organizations in 2011 to provide employment for people and families permitted to live in Japan permanently under recognized refugee status. The number of individuals hired rises every year, and UNIQLO provides training for store managers and employees serving as trainers to deepen their understanding of the refugee situation and to help ensure refugees will flourish at work on a stable, long-term basis. The program has since expanded to other UNIQLO stores around the world, in locations such as the United States and Europe, as well as to group companies such as GU and the Innovation Factory Co., Ltd. In Japan, as of April 2023, a total of 53 refugees are working in the Fast Retailing group.

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Supporting UNHCR Refugee Self-Reliance Programs

• UNHCR Self-Reliance Program 2016 - 2018

In 2018, Fast Retailing committed to donating US$5.5 million to UNHCR programs promoting refugee self-reliance over a three-year period. The UNHCR operates programs in five countries across Asia, teaching relevant work skills such as garment manufacturing and computer skills to refugees. Other programs help refugees start businesses to create their own income. A total of 18,987 refugees have participated in these programs, which have helped improve lives in refugee communities.

UNHCR Self-Reliance Program Participation

IranIndiaMalaysiaNepalPakistanTotal (People)

Work Training Program in Iran

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• Livelihood Support Project in Bangladesh

In September 2022, UNIQLO and UNHCR launched a new livelihood support project in Cox's Bazar refugee camp, Bangladesh. This project aims to provide development opportunities for refugee women living in the camp, by teaching them sewing skills to produce reusable cloth sanitary napkins needed in the camp. Many of the project participants are single heads of households who are supporting families by themselves. We hope that the project will empower these women to develop their capabilities in a safe space while producing essential hygiene items for their community, and ultimately reduce the challenges they face in their daily lives. Participants additionally receive stipends as volunteers in the project. At the end of August 2023, the project had trained about 350 women in sewing skills, with plans to expand the project further in the near future.

• About MADE51 - Bringing the Artistry of Refugees to World Markets

UNHCR established MADE51 in 2016 as a global brand for handicrafts created by refugees. The program is aimed at allowing displaced persons to work utilizing their skills in traditional arts and crafts, giving them independence in their place of refuge, and contributing to the communities that have embraced them. Fast Retailing has supported MADE51 since 2020 as part of the Refugee Self-Reliance Support Program, promoting awareness of the brand and encouraging sales.

Employee Volunteers supporting UNHCR in the field

Fast Retailing sponsors a program which sends employee volunteers to countries receiving UNHCR support. Volunteers spend six months helping plan and implement refugee self-reliance programs, gaining valuable opportunities for growth in the process. Any Fast Retailing Group global employee is eligible to participate. During 2017 - 2018, Fast Retailing sent five employees to India. In FY2023, Fast Retailing dispatched one staff member to UNHCR Cox's Bazar Sub-Office in Bangladesh to support the Livelihood Support Project.

Two employees sent to India, meeting with UNHCR workers

Employees and participants in the self-reliance programs

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