HOME > Sustainability > News & Updates > Fast Retailing Observes World Refugee Day by Helping Protect Children from the Spread of COVID-19 - Two million additional AIRism masks to be supplied together with monetary donation toward COVID-19 prevention and recovery

News & Updates

Last Updated: 2021.06.17

Fast Retailing Observes World Refugee Day by Helping Protect Children from the Spread of COVID-19 - Two million additional AIRism masks to be supplied together with monetary donation toward COVID-19 prevention and recovery

to Japanese page

Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, marks World Refugee Day on June 20 by announcing the supply of two million UNIQLO AIRism masks, in addition to an initial one million masks announced earlier in the year, as well as a donation of US$100,000 to help UNHCR respond to the coronavirus pandemic with essential support and services, including assistance to child refugees deprived of educational opportunities due to COVID-19. Fast Retailing will also run a communication campaign in 22 markets across the world, leveraging social media posts and special website to raise awareness of refugees and the company's global partnership with UNHCR.

Refugees around the world continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest quantity of AIRism masks will be used for displaced persons in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar and Pakistan. Together with the one million masks provided since February for five countries in South America and the Middle East, Fast Retailing is supplying a total of three million masks through UNHCR to be distributed mainly to vulnerable children.

The monetary donation will help UNHCR respond to the coronavirus pandemic with essential support and services, including for child refugees who have been deprived of educational opportunities due to COVID-19 by helping them commute to school, repairing and constructing school buildings and sanitary facilities, and purchasing textbooks and other much-needed educational supplies.

Fast Retailing Chairman, President & CEO Tadashi Yanai and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi made the following remarks regarding World Refugee Day.

Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President & CEO of Fast Retailing, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic highlights why corporations must leverage all resources to support society in times of need. Through our long-term partnership with the UNHCR, Fast Retailing understands that refugees are among the world's most vulnerable people, and so we embrace our responsibility to continue aiding. As a global company, we have called on our core strength - apparel - to make this donation of AIRism masks possible. Together with our previous donations, we wish to provide three million items of human health security, protecting refugees as they rebuild their lives."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of working together. We can only heal and recover when everyone, including people forced to flee, is protected and can access health services. No one is safe until everyone is safe. Thank you to the Fast Retailing community for standing #WithRefugees prior, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic," said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Many refugees are forced to live under conditions where they lack enough medical care or public sanitation, and vaccines have yet to reach these communities. As such, life in refugee camps or densely populated urban spaces carries a high risk of infection. Washable, reusable masks in small sizes for children are especially in short supply. In response, Fast Retailing decided to donate UNIQLO AIRism masks.

Fast Retailing considers support measures for the self-reliance of refugees to be a pillar of its partnership with UNHCR and will continue to pursue initiatives to help in the areas of education and employment.

More information

About Fast Retailing global partnership with UNHCR

Fast Retailing began working with UNHCR in 2006, providing clothing assistance to refugees around the world. In 2011, to give more comprehensive support for solving the refugee crisis, Fast Retailing became the first company based in Asia to enter into a global partnership agreement with the UNHCR. Along with long-standing activities, such as sending UNIQLO and GU branded items collected through product recycling imitative to refugee camps, Fast Retailing provides a wide range of assistance, including emergency support, refugee self-reliance programs, employing refugees in UNIQLO stores, conducting refugee awareness campaigns, and dispatching employees to the UNHCR.

More information is available at:


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, was established in 1950. The organization is active in 135 countries around the world, working with a wide range of partners to provide international protection and support for refugees, internally displaced persons, and stateless persons. UNHCR received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 and 1981. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

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.

About refugee assistance programs at Fast Retailing group brands

GU collects items from customers that they no longer need and sends them to people around the world in need of clothing. Also, customers who purchase items at GU and participants in the recycling program receive "GU Miles" that can be donated to UNHCR at a rate of one yen per mile.

From June 18-20, customers spending 10,000 yen or more at any of the seven Theory locations in the Ginza area of Tokyo (Theory TOKYO, GINZA SIX, Theory Ginza Mitsukoshi, Theory Ginza Mitsukoshi Men's, Theory luxe Ginza Mitsukoshi, Theory luxe Ginza Matsuya, Theory luxe Hibiya Chanter) will receive as a gift a handicraft tassel made by refugees. This program supports self-reliance for refugees by purchasing handicraft items through the MADE51 store established by UNHCR and raises awareness among customers.

More information on UNIQLO's sustainability program, including support for refugees, is available at: https://www.uniqlo.com/en/sustainability/


Top of page