Inspired by the empathy and activism of our own employees, supporting refugees has been a global priority for Levi Strauss & Co. over the past five years. Our support in Europe has been particularly active, addressing the global refugee crisis through philanthropic grants, clothing donations and employee volunteering as well as developing partnerships with nonprofit organizations in different countries across the region.
This month, LS&Co. builds on that work through a new partnership with the Tent Partnership for Refugees and Catalyst where employees will mentor 50 women refugees over the next three years in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain.
The announcement was made during Tent’s virtual European Business Summit on Refugee Women where we joined 24 other companies in pledging our commitment to the mentoring program. It is open to refugee women – including recently arrived Afghan women – and will provide practical skills like resume writing, interviewing and networking tips to improve their chances of landing jobs and advancing their careers.
“A decent job is one of the most important things to help refugees better integrate in their new communities – but refugee women are doubly discriminated against and face so many barriers to employment,” Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Tent, said. “I am very proud of the companies stepping up… to mentor this population. This is the right thing and the smart thing to do—with Europe facing labour shortages across many sectors, it makes good business sense for companies to prepare new, hard-working and resilient talent to enter the workforce.”
The mentorship initiative aims to better prepare refugee women, many of whom have traditionally experienced much lower levels of employment compared to refugee men — especially in the first few years after arrival — as well as native-born women.
“I’m proud and honoured to partner with Tent on this initiative,” said Sophie Ponet, LS&Co.’s Corporate Affairs director in Europe who will lead this program on behalf of the company. “We have the opportunity to elevate our support and take meaningful actions by helping refugee women fight discrimination and enable them to use their talent in our European workplaces.”
In the coming weeks, we will engage with employees interested in mentoring to kick off this work in the first weeks of 2022.