We are thrilled to see that global retailers are seizing the opportunity to support refugees through MADE51. In honour of World Refugee Day, the affordable luxury brand Theory, a company of Fast Retailing, is gifting bespoke MADE51 keychains to customers of their boutiques in Ginza area of Tokyo, starting on June 18.
Fast Retailing is in their tenth year of partnership with UNHCR. Since 2020, they have been supporting MADE51 as part of their refugee self-reliance programs, helping to raise our brand awareness and sales.
The keychains are handmade by refugee women from Mali living in Niger, where they have few opportunities to work and earn income.
Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali in the Sahel region are at the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crises. More than 2.9 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to intense and largely indiscriminate violence perpetrated by armed actors against civilians.
Women and children are bearing the brunt of this crisis.
This deteriorating humanitarian and protection emergency is now further compounded by the impact of COVID-19, combined with the pre-existing challenges faced by the region, including climate change and food insecurity.
For refugees in this context, livelihoods opportunities are scarce and any chance to do dignified work for fair wages is prized. For the women working on the Theory order, their income is primarily used to support their children’s basic needs and education.
We are grateful to Theory for sourcing from refugees - and we look forward to collaboration with other companies that are keen to make an impact.
At MADE51, we see immense potential for economic inclusion of refugees in the handmade sector. That’s why we are working to make it easier than ever for global companies like Theory to source products from refugees, made in Fair Trade conditions, thereby creating much-needed livelihoods opportunities.
We believe that building a stronger, safer, more vibrant world is possible when we stand together. Through inclusion of refugees--in health systems, educational institutions, and global supply chains--we can heal, learn and shine.
The women working on the Theory order are of Tuareg ethnicity, a traditionally nomadic culture. These women belong to a hereditary caste of leatherworkers, which makes them artisans by birth. Tassels originally emerged as decorative elements applied to camel saddles. © UNHCR / Boubacar
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The ability to engage with refugee artisans in the Sahel region, and make market connections for their work, is made possible in part by the European Union, which has supported the expansion of UNHCR’s work with Malian refugees in MADE51.