Japanese retail holding company Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. celebrates the 10th anniversary of its ‘Power of Clothing Project’ in collaboration with UNHCR, which encourages students to collect discarded children’s clothing in order to give them to refugee children in need.
The project first launched in 2013, with a total of about 380,000 students from 3,600 different elementary, middle, high, as well as special needs schools from Japan having participated so far.
It seeks to solve the ongoing issue of migrant children's clothing shortages, who make up almost half of all migrants.
Students learn about recycling, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and refugee situations around the world from Fast Retailing employees and get the chance to take the lead, develop campaigns and handle all steps from the collection to the sorting of the garments.
Due to Covid-19, an online class was first introduced in 2021.
The donated clothing is processed in Japan in accordance with cultural standards and regional clothing needs before being shipped directly to refugee camps for distribution in partnership with UNHCR. The process is controlled to prevent unwanted surplus products in refugee camps or the donated apparel ending up in secondary markets.
In fiscal 2023, Fast Retailing, which owns the Uniqlo brand, expanded the project by partnering up with Google Japan G.K., using Google Earth in classes and spreading out into Asian schools outside Japan.
To make the distant camps feel more real and to energise project activities, Google Earth will be used to show students the locations and on-site conditions.
The newly planned initiative takes the project outside Japan, however, mainly in Asian countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore. Additionally, the plan is to conduct online classes together with schools in Japan and Taiwan on May 30 and June 2.