How Syr­ian Refugees got wel­comed in the U.S.

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The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Syria, and the jour­ney for those forced to leave their homes seek­ing safety from the vi­o­lence, is heart­break­ing. 12 mil­lion Syr­i­ans have been dis­placed from their homes with nearly five mil­lion flee­ing Syria as refugees.

Global re­sponse has been slow tak­ing ac­tion on this is­sue, but in the sum­mer of 2015, fam­i­lies be­gan leav­ing camps and seek­ing refuge in other Euro­pean coun­tries where their gov­ern­ments were forced to take ac­tion. The United States has been torn about how to ad­dress the is­sue. One com­pany wanted to help and en­sure that refugees ar­riv­ing in North Amer­ica are wel­comed with love and friend­ship.

Lush Fresh Hand­made Cos­met­ics joined hands with the In­ter­na­tional Res­cue Com­mit­tee (IRC), a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that re­sponds to hu­man­i­tar­ian crises around the world, to send a clear mes­sage that Syr­ian refugees flee­ing a war-torn coun­try are welcome in the U.S. “This is the largest hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis of our time,” Lush pro­claims on its web­site. The com­pany wanted to use its over 230 shops in North Amer­ica to in­form its cus­tomers and give them a mean­ing­ful and im­pact­ful way to take ac­tion to show their sup­port.

Cen­tered around "Refugees Welcome" theme, Lush made avail­able for sale the “Hand of Friend­ship” soap, for $5.95 each.

It also did sev­eral things as part of the cam­paign to get the mes­sage across that Syr­ian refugees are welcome in the U.S. One of those things is dec­o­rat­ing its store-front win­dows with welcome signs in Ara­bic. An­other is en­gag­ing cus­tomers to ex­tend a welcome by sign­ing welcome post­cards to refugees who have just ar­rived and us­ing the hash­tag #refugeeswel­come on so­cial me­dia. The re­sponse is said to have been “over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive”.

The cam­paign ran for about two weeks in Fe­bru­ary with the goal of rais­ing $350,000 from the sale of the com­pany’s 'Hand of Friend­ship' soap. All pro­ceeds from the soap throughout the du­ra­tion of the cam­paign went into the Friend­ship Fund cre­ated by Lush, and the funds were dis­trib­uted to groups in North Amer­ica that help set­tle Syr­ian refugees.

Lush, a com­pany with a long his­tory of CSR cam­paigns, in­clud­ing fight­ing an­i­mal test­ing, ban­ning dog-sled races and tours, and ban­ning plas­tic bags, thinks ed­u­ca­tion about the sit­u­a­tion in Syria will help Amer­i­cans un­der­stand the vi­o­lence and fear Syr­ian refugees have ex­pe­ri­enced, so they take ac­tion to lighten the suf­fer­ing of the Syr­ian peo­ple.

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