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Supporting Refugees

Last Updated: 2021.09.13
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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 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 the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to collect clothing no longer needed by customers and donates these items to refugees and displaced persons. We donated approximately 4.54 million items in FY2020. That brings the total number of donations since our program began to roughly 41.11 million items (2006 to end August 2020).

Clothing Donations (as of August 2020)
41,110,000 items
across
75 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. As of April 2021, a total of 120 refugees have been hired to work at stores in locations around the UNIQLO network, such as the United States and Germany.

【Refugee Hiring at UNIQLO Stores (as of April 2021)】

Japan: 62France: 28Germany: 12Italy:9United States:3
Netherlands: 3Sweden:2UK: 1Total: 120

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Supporting UNHCR Refugee Self-Reliance Programs

• UNHCR Self-Reliance Program 2016 - 2018

In 2016, 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)
20163,2201,2671,01535105,853
20171,6332,5082,6733052157,334
20181,1066822,2651,1845635,800
18,987

Work Training Program in Iran

• 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.

Helping Combat COVID_19

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased the risk to those living in densely populated refugee camps and urban areas. Fast Retailing is donating a total of 3 million AIRism masks to UNHCR in 2021. These will be distributed primarily to refugees and internally-displaced persons around the world, and particularly to children living in vulnerable environments. We also donated $100,000 to UNHCR to help combat COVID-19, supporting refugee and internally-displaced children who have lost their opportunity to gain an education due to COVID restrictions.

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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.

Two employees sent to India, meeting with UNHCR workers

Employees and participants in the self-reliance programs


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