“The world has not seen a global humanitarian crisis of this magnitude since the Second World War and with winter approaching in the northern hemisphere, it is only going to get worse,” said H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the UN General Assembly, speaking at a press conference on September 21, the International Day of Peace, about the Syrian refugee crisis. “The tragic stories and heart-breaking images we are seeing in the media are only the tip of the iceberg – the manifestation of much bigger issues which only multilateral cooperation and global leadership can solve. This is a global crisis. And it requires a global solution.”
Indeed as the Syrian refugee crisis continues to unfold, individuals, businesses and countries around the world have come together to help. Here are five companies among them.
Early September, after an initial £1m donation to organisations working to support refugees, Google launched a donation-matching campaign that saw them contribute €5m to a collective €10m. They also launched Google Fortunetelling a fake search engine that could ‘predict your future’. Created to raise awareness of the plights faced by refugees, users found themselves on a fake search results page that noted, ’Of course we can’t predict your future! But 60 million refugees ask themselves every day if they have a future at all’ and called for people to ‘donate time, money or love and spread the word’.
Earlier this month Uber launched UberGIVING. On September 9 and 10, Uber collected donated items – spanning clothes, toys, homewares, books and more – free of charge from people across 20 European countries. Uber partnered with local charities, in the case of the UK, Save the Children, who will sell the donated goods through their network of UK stores, with all funds going to their Child Refugee Crisis Appeal.
In an email to staff earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote: “As we’ve all seen and read in the news, millions of people from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries have fled their homes because of war and persecution. Europe, where many hope to find safety, is experiencing a refugee crisis on a scale that hasn’t been seen since World War II. Thousands of people have already lost their lives as families embark on long and dangerous journeys across land and sea.”
Published in UK newspaper The Telegraph, Cook noted that Apple had made a “substantial donation to relief agencies which provide humanitarian aid to refugees in Europe and around the Mediterranean” and that “for employees who donate to the Red Cross campaign and other select relief efforts, Apple will match your contribution 2-for-1”. The company has also created a public donation campaign available through its iTunes and App Store.
The IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of Swedish homewares company IKEA Group, has long supported refugees. Working with partners Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Refugee Housing, Refugees United, Right to Play, UNHCR and UNICEF, their work with refugees focuses on four key areas: better homes and livelihoods for refugee families; improving education for children in refugee camps; reconnecting displaced families; and sharing knowledge on disaster responses.
The IKEA Foundation and UNHCR announced, in July of this year, a €38 million grant for 2015-2017 to help refugees and heavily stretched host communities become more resilient in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
On a more local level, the 25 stores that make up the Australian arm of LUSH Cosmetics will be donating all sales (between October 1–7) from their Helping Hands product to the Melbourne-based Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). Lush also partnered with the ASRC in 2013 in their ‘Seeking Asylum is Not Illegal’ campaign, with proceeds of their Soap of Hope product sales also going to the reputed not-for-profit that supports asylum seekers nationally.
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