Lagardère Travel Retail Switzerland in partnership with Switzerland for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner for Switzerland, were pleased to inaugurate a pop-up store on Monday, 27 February at the Geneva airport. The pop-up shop features a collection of “MADE51” handicrafts, a global brand of refugee-made products created by UNHCR. The millions of passengers who pass through the airport will now have the opportunity to stop not only to learn more about UNHCR's operations and missions for more than 103 million forcibly displaced people around the world, but also to support refugee artisans by purchasing their products.
Supporting refugees and promoting their talents
When people are forced to flee, they often have to leave in a hurry to save their lives, sometimes carrying no more than the clothes on their back. But refugees take with them their heritage, their know-how, and the will to keep these traditions alive and to exist through them. MADE51 is a mission-driven brand that connects refugee artisans with international markets. MADE51 currently works with 35 local social enterprises in 23 refugee-hosting countries. By using their valuable skills, traditions, and heritage to handcraft unique products, refugees are able to earn an income and achieve financial independence.
Pascal le Droff, CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail Switzerland, underlined the importance of this partnership:
Our collaboration with UNHCR means a lot to us, especially in these troubled times. The war in Ukraine and the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria require a strong solidarity. We want to play our part to help refugees and highlight the urgent need to include them in global value chain.
Cristina Davies, Executive Director of Switzerland for UNHCR provided details about what passengers will be able to find in the booth:
For the next six months, passengers at Geneva airport will have the opportunity to buy a variety of products made by artisans, including home décor, dolls, and fashion accessories. In addition, the booth also features brochures and an activity table for children. We also thank the wonderful volunteers that will provide information, on-site, about UNHCR’s mission and MADE51 products during the weekend. The pop-up store allows travellers to learn about the experiences of those who have also travelled, but against their will and with no guarantee of ever returning home.
Continued commitment to people forced to flee
Back in 2022, Lagardère Travel Retail joined forces with Switzerland for UNHCR, UNHCR's partner for Switzerland and Liechtenstein, to support the DAFI programme, granting scholarships to refugees to access higher education.
With the option of top-up payments at checkouts, passengers were able to sponsor young refugees to pursue their education. One example of the impact education can have on young refugees is UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Maya Ghazal. After fleeing the war in Syria, Maya came to the UK and stayed a few nights in a hotel by Heathrow airport. It was there that she realised what she wanted to do later on: become an airline pilot. Today, Maya has completed her studies, and is the first female Syrian refugee pilot. Lagardère Travel Retail also supported the relief efforts in Ukraine and neighbouring countries when the war broke out. In less than a year, over CHF 70’000 have been raised for the different UNHCR programmes.
Today, with the opening of the MADE51 booth in the East wing of Geneva airport, a new chapter of this partnership is starting.
About Lagardère Travel Retail
One of the two divisions of Lagardère group, Lagardère Travel Retail is a leading global Travel Retailer, with the longest standing expertise of holistically serving the needs of travellers and partners across Travel Essentials, Duty Free & Fashion and Foodservice. Lagardère Travel Retail operates over 5,000 stores in airports, railway stations and other concessions in 42 countries, and has generated €5.2 bn in sales (100%) in 2022.
Through locally-empowered teams and value-creating partnerships, Lagardère Travel Retail develops comprehensive and authentic travel experiences. Lagardère Travel Retail is championing sustainability in Travel Retail through a dedicated CSR strategy, aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
About Switzerland for UNHCR
The Swiss Foundation for UNHCR, Switzerland for UNHCR, is the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner for Switzerland. We support UNHCR's mission by mobilizing essential resources and raising awareness on behalf of those who are forced to flee.
To allow UNHCR to protect forcibly displaced populations, the Foundation needs the support of the Swiss people. Every Franc donated is spent in a responsible and transparent manner, and donations are tax exempt.
Switzerland for UNHCR also carries out awareness and advocacy initiatives to draw the general public’s attention to the plight of displaced people in the world, and to what UNHCR does to protect them.
Switzerland for UNHCR responds to strict accountability requirements. As a foundation under Swiss law, it is subject to the Swiss Federal Supervisory Authority for Foundations. Moreover, its use of funds is subject to the United Nations international standards (IPSAS 35).