Inditex will allocate €9.7 million to emergency relief, development and employment programmes run by Caritas and Médecins Sans Frontières

Inditex has renewed its collaboration agreements with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Caritas, allocating €9.7 million to several projects run by these non-governmental organisations. Inditex's Chairman and CEO, Pablo Isla, signed the respective collaboration agreements at the company's headquarters in Arteixo (La Coruña) in the presence of the president of MSF in Spain, David Noguera, and the president of Caritas Spain, Rafael del Río.

The MSF projects, to which the Group will contribute €2.3 million this year, are centred on the provision of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Kilis (Turkey) and support for the mission's emergency response teams in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Caritas, meanwhile, will receive a €7.4 million contribution from Inditex between 2016 and 2018 for workplace integration programmes targeted at people at risk of social exclusion in Spain and community development programmes in Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Project in Kilis (Turkey) with MSF

Inditex will contribute a further €1 million to the medical and humanitarian assistance work of MSF to Syrian refugees in the Turkish province of Kilis.

Since it was set up in 2013, the Kilis project has been providing care to the more than 130,000 Syrian refugees fleeing their homes from war to the province's urban and rural areas on the border between Turkey and Syria.

Over three-quarters of these refugees reside in precarious circumstances, outside of the Turkish refugee camps. Many are currently staying in Kilis, the first region of safety, and are largely undocumented. MSF is presently the only international humanitarian organisation that is providing  free healthcare to these refugees.  

The €1 million in funding provided by Inditex will be used specifically to provide primary health care and psychological and pastoral support to the refugees in Kilis. This will include a programme of support-visits by MSF professionals to the displaced Syrians. In parallel, taskforces will be set up to address chronic disease, psychological requirements and health education focused on gender-based violence and providing treatment to refugees who suffered torture prior to fleeing from Syria. 

Inditex has been consistently supporting this project and various other initiatives aimed at supporting the refugee crisis since its onset. In addition to its work at the border between Turkey and Syria, Inditex has provided financial support to the emergency units set up by MSF to assist Syrian refugees in their exodus towards Europe, as well as making in-kind donations via various humanitarian organisations.

Since Inditex and MSF signed a Framework Collaboration Agreement in 2008, the Group has contributed over €19.1 million to MSF to fund ongoing emergency relief work, as well as specific projects. These initiatives have benefitted more than 1.8 million people in 14 countries and in 28 emergency zones.

Support for the Emergency Desk

In addition, Inditex has pledged to renew its support to MSF's Emergency Desk, with a further contribution of €1.3 million for this year.

MSF's Emergency Desk is the unit responsible for monitoring and managing the mission's emergency response teams on the ground. This emergency response unit, which is exclusively funded by Inditex, is staffed by expert professionals located in both MSF's Spanish headquarters and in disaster zones.

Specifically, €500,000 will be allocated to the Emergency Desk at MSF's Spanish headquarters and €400,000 each will be earmarked to the two mission emergency response teams in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. In both instances, these teams' function is to provide expert training support and advice to the MSF units currently deployed in these African nations so that they are ready to respond in the event of an emergency.

The Caritas employment programme in Spain

Inditex will also contribute €5 million to Caritas's employment programmes in Spain over the next three years. This will help fund workforce integration projects, self-employment initiatives, on-the-job training plans and rural community development projects.

The employment-focused collaboration between Caritas and Inditex in Spain dates back to 2011. Since then, the programme has established itself as a benchmark initiative in improving the job prospects and workplace integration of people at risk of social exclusion. Since 2011, Inditex has provided €6.5 million to this endeavour, which has directly benefitted more than 4,600 people. Over 3,500 of these beneficiaries have received training that has improved their job prospects and 1,450 have found their way back into the job market thanks to the integration programmes.

For the upcoming three-year period (2017 - 2019), the employment programme will receive another €5 million of funding from Inditex and is expected to support nearly 600 training initiatives for learning a new skill or enhancing existing ones, accompanied by work placements in many instances, with the aim of improving the percentage of beneficiaries who ultimately find work.

This programme also aspires to further foster the creation and consolidation of community development projects in areas such as tourism, graphic art, hospitality and organic farming sectors.

Community work in Bangladesh and Cambodia

Inditex and Caritas have also signed three-year agreements (covering 2016 - 2018) under which the company will allocate €2.4 million to the organisation's community development programmes in Bangladesh and Cambodia.

The aim of these programmes is to improve rural community readiness for natural disasters in the case of Bangladesh and to extend the community health and development strategy already underway in the case of Cambodia. Since 2008, Inditex has contributed €4.3 million to these programmes, which have benefitted nearly 82,000 people. 

In Bangladesh, the programmes, which will receive €1.5 million in new funding, aim to reinforce local community readiness for natural disasters, in a country prone to such catastrophes. Caritas has been working on disaster management for many years, evolving over time from an assistance-based approach to a prevention-based strategy which directly involves the local communities themselves. Specifically, the plan is to train the programme participants in risk management and to build flood shelters, enclosures to protect livestock, and dams and canals for combating drought.

Inditex will support initiatives aimed at improving living conditions in the least privileged communities of Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital city. The initiatives target working women, as well as infants and teenagers. The aim is to raise parental awareness of antenatal and infant healthcare and improve the care provided to the children of female garment sector workers, ensuring access to schooling.

The Cambodian project, to be funded with €900,000, extends Caritas's community health and development programme in rural areas in Cambodia, which has been supported by Inditex since 2008.

The beneficiaries of these projects are vulnerable families and individuals living in extreme poverty, AIDS patients and people with disabilities. The plan is to reinforce farming cooperatives, build health and maternity centres and promote pre- and post-natal care, among other initiatives.

Social investment at Inditex

Inditex's partnerships with MSF and Caritas are part of the Group's broader social investment strategy which supports a broad series of community initiatives carried out with a number of non-profits with expertise in the various areas and geographies. Against this backdrop, in 2015, Inditex invested more than €35 million in social initiatives which directly benefitted almost one million people.