Big Story 10

Factbox: Coding to cooking - the businesses helping tackle the refugee crisis

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - From virtual banking to flower arranging, businesses seeking to help refugees are multiplying as the number of people forced from their homes around the world grows.

There are now 25.9 million refugees globally, according to the United Nations, and some have found innovative ways to earn a living while helping their adopted communities or others like them.

On World Refugee Day, here are 10 social enterprises - businesses that seek to do good as well as turning a profit - with refugee connections.

** NeedsList

U.S.-based NeedsList, launched in 2017, is an online registry where humanitarian and disaster relief organisations can post what urgent supplies and volunteer support they need from donors during times of crisis.

** Espai Mescladis

This Barcelona-based restaurant and culinary school, founded in 2005, trains migrants from Venezuela, Senegal and Pakistan to cook and cater so they have a better shot at finding jobs and integrating in Spanish life.

** Project Patradya

This Delhi-based initiative employs Afghan refugee women to make and sell edible bowls, cups and cutlery made from millet and wheat flour, with the dual aims of empowering the women and curbing India’s chronic waste problem.

** Chatterbox

Based in London, Chatterbox hires degree-educated refugees to teach languages, including Swahili, Arabic, Korean and Farsi, to university students, businesspeople and private clients.

** HolaCode

This software engineering training program aims to help returned or deported migrants and refugees in Mexico find work in the country’s growing technology sector, partnering with companies looking for bilingual coders.

** Bread and Roses

This London-based social enterprise, founded in 2016, aims to help female refugees into work by training them in floristry and giving them a space to learn English, build their confidence and work on their resumes together.

** Leaf

This U.S.-based virtual bank designed for people fleeing their homelands uses blockchain technology with the aim of providing a safe way from them to store and access their savings and assets while on the move.

** Magdas Hotel

Most of the staff at Vienna’s Magdas Hotel, from the receptionists to the cleaners, cooks and electricians, are refugees who have been granted asylum in Austria.

** 734 Coffee

Founded by Sudanese refugee Manyang Reath Kher in 2016, Washington D.C.-based 734 Coffee imports coffee from farmers who employ refugees in Ethiopia and South Sudan, with 80% of profits paying scholarships for young people in refugee camps.

** PichaEats

Malaysian catering social enterprise PichaEats was founded in 2016 and hires refugee chefs who make specialties from their home countries - including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan - for meal delivery and events.

Reporting by Sarah Shearman @Shearmans, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking and slavery, property rights, social innovation, resilience and climate change. Visit to see more stories