Yesterday, the US government announced a Call to Action for the U.S. private sector to stand with the White House and make new, measurable and significant commitments that will have a durable impact on refugees residing in countries on the frontlines of the global refugee crisis and in countries of resettlement, like the United States. Microsoft and LinkedIn put forth summaries of their work to date to assist refugees as follows:
- Microsoft Philanthropies is leveraging the company’s technology, cash donations, and employee volunteers to support nonprofits who are driving Syrian refugee crisis relief efforts. In the past six months, Microsoft has donated more than $20 million in cash, grants and software to over a dozen nonprofit organizations, including NetHope, Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee. This has ensured its nonprofit partners have the capacity to provide millions of refugees with vital access to food, water, shelter, medical aid and legal/trauma counseling, as well as services that will help them to rebuild their lives, including education, employment training, and connectivity.
- Currently, through its nonprofit partnerships, Microsoft is supporting refugee education efforts in Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Jordan. For instance, in Germany, Microsoft has made its YouthSpark Schlaumause (Arabic to German language training) program available to 3,000 elementary schools, serving approximately 30,000 refugee children. In the coming months, Microsoft will commit more resources to this initiative to double Schlaumause’s impact. At the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, Microsoft has supported the establishment of The Norwegian Refugee Council’s technology lab, which teaches adult refugees computer skills, improving their future employability. Through its support for NetHope, Microsoft has helped bring connectivity services to Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. With connectivity, refugees have been able to access information and resources, and connect to family. Going forward, Microsoft aims to work across the industry to help provide much-needed infrastructure, as well as longer-term aid. In the coming months, Microsoft will deepen its commitment and expand its ability to prepare for and respond to humanitarian and natural disasters.
- In February 2016, LinkedIn launched its first pilot initiative in Sweden, Welcome Talent, to help address the refugee crisis. Using the LinkedIn platform, the company created a microsite that is an entry point to connect newly settled refugees with employers who have committed to hiring them. The site has information, resources and case studies to help refugees create optimal profiles. To date, more than 1,000 jobs have been posted from potential employers. This is a multi-sector initiative working with the Swedish government, NGO community, universities and the private sector. LinkedIn is also one of the founding partners of the Tent Foundation private sector alliance that has formed to address the refugee crisis. LinkedIn is currently exploring other markets to expand this work.