JOBS FOR REFUGEES: Italian luxury fashion companies Gucci and Roberto Cavalli have been awarded with the “Welcome. Working for Refugee Integration” prize.

The recognition is part of a program with the same name, spearheaded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, which both companies committed to in 2018. The initiative is aimed at promoting inclusivity and human rights of refugees escaping from war-torn countries by enhancing their financial independence through job positions and training.

In particular, Gucci introduced a pilot project last year to offer professional education and add to the label’s workforce young people from Gambia, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Ucraina and Senegal. Gucci partnered with the Adecco Foundation for Equal Opportunities and social cooperative Cenacolo di Firenze on the project.

“This accolade bears witness to our commitment to favoring the professional integration of refugees and to supporting their process of integration in Italy, as well as to promoting and sensitizing our employees to an inclusive society model that can prevent and combat xenophobic and racist sentiment against asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci.

In addition, the Kering-owned company on World Refugee Day on June 20 last year hosted in a few of its Italian offices the “Living Library” initiative, enabling employees to meet with refugees and listen to their stories.

Also in 2018, Roberto Cavalli brought to the company three young talents from Ghana, Pakistan and Salvador in the prototyping, tailoring and Just Cavalli design divisions, respectively. The program was realized in partnership with the Baker McKenzie law firm, the University of Milan and nonprofit organization Farsi Prossimo, in addition to UNHCR.

The two companies were bestowed with the prize at Milan’s Assolombarda headquarters in Milan on Thursday, along with other recipients, which include, for example, silk specialist Mantero Seta SpA.

According to UNHCR, since the “Welcome. Working for Refugee Integration” project was first introduced in 2017, 120 companies have been involved and awarded for offering job positions to 1,200 refugees totally.