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Product, Service & Design Innovation
Startup Working to Provide Jobs to Refugees Resettled in the US

The ongoing plight of the millions of refugees fleeing Syria and other parts of the world has captured the world’s attention, but what happens once they’ve found somewhere safe to settle?

In the midst of the refugee crisis, socially conscious jewelry brand Liberti USA is asking you to support the American dream and help resettled refugees exercise their right to work.

75,000 refugees legally relocate to the US each year, but the struggle continues for many once they have immigrated. According to Liberti USA, an employee-owned startup that creates exquisite, handmade jewelry skillfully crafted by refugee women now living in the US, resettled refugees experience a 21 percent unemployment rate (about four times the national rate) and 21 percent rate of depression (about three times the national rate).

The social impact startup aims to raise funds via a Kickstarter campaign to employ female refugees as “Liberti Creators” to produce unique, handcrafted jewelry. They are just over 20 percent of the way to achieving their $68,447 funding goal with two weeks to go in the campaign. Reaching the goal will allow them to hire Kamala, a refugee from Bhutan who has resettled in Denver, Colorado.

“In a land created from immigrants and refugees, we’re proud that our country continues to provide a place for families fleeing war and persecution to rebuild their lives here in America,” reads the campaign page. “This is a constant reminder that our country is still a land of opportunity. But rather than create just another charity that offers one more hand out, we wanted to create a socially responsible company that gives its participants a hand up.”

The company hopes to empower women using a unique business model. Liberti USA is a for-profit social business, and expects to pay the hired refugees a living wage and provide them with profit-sharing opportunities. The founders hope to hire six initial Liberti Creator candidates from Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan who have resettled in Colorado.

Europe is struggling with the mass migration brought on by the refugee crisis and countries around the world are arguing about how many refugees they be required to take in.

According to The Guardian, business leaders in Germany are asking for helping in finding employment for the refugees and easing restrictions to help the country fill gaps in its workforce. In the UK, several organizations are taking action to hire refugees, including ethical underwear business Who Made Your Pants? and pop-up restaurant project Mazi Mas. UK recruitment service Transitions specializes in connecting British employers with skilled refugees.

“We’ve got people into work who are very experienced accountants, architects, engineers, IT experts,” said Sheila Heard, Transitions’ managing director. “A lot of employers have said, ‘We had no idea there’s this talent pool.’ Many businesses value the knowledge of international practice that refugees can bring.”

Meanwhile, Liberti USA’s efforts shine a light on refugees who have resettled in the US, and how much work still needs to be done to effectively help people trying to escape war, natural disasters and persecution.


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