UNIQLO announces the launch of five projects around the world, under its Clothes for Smiles community outreach initiative, to help disadvantaged children by addressing educational disparity and poverty. These projects, which include building libraries and vocational centres in developing countries, has UNIQLO working hand-in-hand with the world’s top-ranked professional men’s tennis player and UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassador, Novak Djokovic.
[pullquote align=”right”]UNIQLO launches five projects around the world to help children. Addressing educational disparity and poverty – with Novak Djokovic, world’s top-ranked professional men’s tennis player and UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassador[/pullquote]
UNIQLO and Novak Djokovic jointly initiated the Clothes for Smiles Project with the aim of helping disadvantaged children worldwide, for which UNIQLO has earmarked JPY 1 billion (approximately RM33 million) in funding. Under the project, UNIQLO solicited the public for project proposals that would achieve its aim and received 739 proposals from 46 countries. UNIQLO is working with Japanese non-profit organization Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) to implement eight of these. Here is an introduction of the first five to launch.
Library Project: Cambodia (Beginning early Sept. 2013)
After nearly thirty years of internal strife, Cambodia’s economy is growing, creating economic disparity, illiteracy and unequal access to education. To encourage child literacy, UNIQLO is building libraries, distributing books, publishing picture books, and promoting the importance of libraries. The project is to be carried out in cooperation with the Shanti Volunteer Association.
Waku Work Center Project: Cebu Province, Philippines (Beginning early Sept. 2013)
UNIQLO, Waku Waku Work English Inc., and ETIC will jointly establish the Waku Work Center in Barangay Lorega on Cebu Island, where many unemployed parents are unable to send their children to school. To encourage self-sufficiency, the facility will function as an educational resource for children, a vocational training centre, and a career development base. In time, Waku Waku Work English Inc. and ETIC plan to launch local businesses to create jobs.
Girls Soccer Project: Bangladesh, Ghana, and Zimbabwe (Beginning early Sept. 2013)
UNIQLO and Plan Japan will set up girls’ soccer teams and hold tournaments, to encourage self confidence, independence, and teamwork among young women, while raising awareness of women’s rights, health needs, and sexuality. This also aims to address poverty and traditional views on gender, which continue to limit educational opportunities, access to healthcare, and other key social services for young women.
e-Education Project: Manila and Mindanao, Philippines (Started April 2013)
UNIQLO is working with ETIC and a non-profit organization, the e-Education Project, to offer disadvantaged children DVD lessons by some of the best teachers in the Philippines, with the aim of providing equal access to education. University students from Japan research local needs, and identify the best teachers in each target region to record the lessons, which UNIQLO and its partners then distribute.
Shopping Project: Belgrade, Serbia (Beginning Nov. 2013)
Faced with poverty and unemployment, children in refugee centres live in extremely insular environments, limiting their socialisation and development. UNIQLO and non-profit organization Actions for Children in Crisis are offering children in Serbian refugee centres the chance to shop at a simulated UNIQLO store, providing an exciting opportunity to socialise. Children shop for new clothing donated by UNIQLO, and use play money to “buy” the items they want. Through the program, they also have the opportunity to express themselves through community building opportunities like dance performances.
UNIQLO is determined to improve the world through its clothing, and has undertaken innovative projects worldwide to achieve this goal. Please visit http://clothesforsmiles.uniqlo.com to monitor the progress of each project.
Clothes for Smiles Project
UNIQLO and UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassador Novak Djokovic jointly initiated the Clothes for Smiles Project in October 2012, to help disadvantaged children worldwide. UNIQLO has earmarked JPY 1 billion from its Fall/Winter 2012 sales of HEATTECH and Ultra Light Down to support this initiative. The project is divided into two programs. The first solicits and implements ideas from around the world to help disadvantaged children worldwide. The second funds initiatives to improve education for children, through a global alliance with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNIQLO has allocated JPY 5 hundred million in support of these programs.
Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC)
Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) is a non-profit organisation that contributes to social innovation by developing enterprising leaders who create new value in a range of fields. It works with a number of organisations throughout Japan, including businesses, universities, and government agencies, to support the development of bright young people. To do so, it offers long-term internships for more than 2,500 individuals in entrepreneurial ventures, while providing education and support for over 300 entrepreneurs. Since 2011, ETIC has also focused on disaster recovery, by assigning 151 people to work across 87 recovery projects, as well as initiatives to rebuild communities and industries.