March 21 2024  |  Retailers

Unifree Duty Free and Istanbul Airport spotlight 'From Women's Hands to the Hearts of Children' project

By GTR Magazine Editor

Unifree Duty Free features dolls made by local women through the 'From Women's Hands to Children's Heart' initiative

Unifree Duty Free and Istanbul Airport are underlining efforts to support social sustainability – gender equality, equal opportunity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility – with a focus on their joint ‘From Women’s Hands to Children’s Heart’ project.

The initiative was implemented in 2020 within the airport’s Social Investment Program. It aims to assist and empower women from neighborhoods adjacent to the airport with socio-economic aid and training to make knitted dolls which are sold at Unifree Duty Free’s stores.

A Social Impact Analysis carried out by Istanbul Airport for the projects it has implemented within the Social Investment Program has shown increased self-confidence, socialization and emotional well-being of the women participating in the project. The project intends to expand its impact area by including women who were victims of recent earthquakes in Turkey.

Ceren Tonguç, Unifree Duty Free CCO, said, “As Unifree Duty Free, we attach importance to sustainability and develop strategies that will touch many areas of sustainability. In particular, gender equality, diversity, and inclusion are among our core issues. In this sense we are very happy to observe the positive effects of the ‘From Women’s Hands to Children’s Heart’s project on both the female entrepreneur who is the coordinator of our project and the women living in rural areas, and to be a part of this valuable project.’’

Orhan Gül, Istanbul Airport Sustainability Manager, added, “This project, which we implemented under the title of ‘Women’s Participation in Socio-Economic Life’, within the scope of the İGA Istanbul Airport ‘Social Investment Plan’ is one of our projects where we produce social benefits by prioritizing the local people of our airport. Thanks to the training they receive, women can earn additional income. Additionally, by teaching these skills to other women in their immediate circle, they help them participate in production and earn income.

“We act by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the International Finance Organization Performance Standards in this award-winning work that we have implemented in cooperation with Unifree Duty Free and in which we support women entrepreneurship and similar activities for vulnerable groups. We also closely monitor the effects of the ‘From Women’s Hands to Children’s Heart Project’ on the participants with the Social Impact Analysis.

“We are very pleased to see that there is an increase in self-confidence, emotional well-being, and the opportunity to socialize. While we had the chance to talk about this valuable cooperation and its results in the international arena in the women’s empowerment panel at the 27th Climate Change (COP) Conference, our project was deemed worthy of the Women-Friendly Brands Award in 2023. We will continue to work to increase the versatile benefits of our project together with our project partners.”

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