UNIQLO announces the launch of five projects around the world to help disadvantaged children by addressing educational disparity and poverty, under its Clothes for Smiles community outreach initiative.
The projects include libraries and vocational centers in developing countries, working with world's top-ranked professional men's tennis player and UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassador Novak Djokovic.
UNIQLO and Mr. Djokovic jointly initiated the Clothes for Smiles Project with the aim of helping disadvantaged children worldwide, and UNIQLO has earmarked JPY 1 billion in funding.
Under the Project, UNIQLO solicited the public for proposals for projects that achieve its aim, receiving 739 from 46 countries. UNIQLO is working with Japanese non-profit organization Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) to implement eight of these. Here follows 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 and exasperating 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 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 center, and a career development base. It will also provide vocational training, and 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 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 aims to address poverty and traditional views on gender, which continue to limit educational opportunities and access to healthcare and other social services for young women.
e-Education Project: Manila and Mindanao, Philippines (Beginning April 2013)
UNIQLO is working with ETIC and 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.