Supporting refugees with Virgin Atlantic

Made 51 products being showcased by the Virgin Atlantic crew
Virgin Atlantic
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 7 April 2022

Delighted to see Virgin Atlantic stocking beautiful Made51 products in its onboard shop – all made by refugee artisans. 

Backed by UNHCR, Made51 helps refugee artisans to bring their products to a global market and rebuild their lives and livelihoods. I’m really proud that Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Megastore are both now stocking them.

Image from Virgin Megastore
Image from Virgin Megastore

I have championed UNHCR and their brilliant work helping refugees for many years. When it comes to refugees, we know just how much talent and entrepreneurial energy they bring wherever their journey takes them. Giving refugees the opportunity to harness their talents and do what they love always seemed like the most natural way of ensuring they can succeed and prosper. 

Each Made51 product also does something else: it tells a story about resilience, about perseverance and about beating the odds. The Made 51 products take that story into people’s homes, into people’s minds. I couldn’t think of a better way of shifting attitudes and fighting prejudice and misperceptions. 

Image from Virgin Megastore
Image from Virgin Megastore

From Afghanistan to Burundi, from South Sudan to Yemen to Ukraine – refugees deserve to be heard, and they deserve to be empowered. 

I’ve long used my voice to encourage greater openness to refugees, to call for a better climate for their integration. Our first involvement with refugees was with Virgin Atlantic flying in medical supplies and food to Jordan after the first Gulf War and personally meeting refugees and hearing about the issues they face.

In recent years I have joined The Elders in Ethiopia to support the work the UN is doing at refugee sites near Gambela, and we also helped to promote a concert for hundreds of thousands of refugees on Venezuela's border with Colombia.

Image from Matthias Stausberg
Image from Matthias Stausberg

Virgin Management is also a member of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a group of businesses that support refugees, and has supported The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network (TERN), which offers mentoring and support to refugees.

Virgin Atlantic has also been flying in humanitarian supplies to Poland to help refugees fleeing Ukraine and it has also transported Ukrainian orphans and their guardians to safety in the UK. 

I hope you will all be inspired by the Made 51 story, and I sure hope many of you will either stock or buy these beautiful products.

At Virgin, we are proud to be a partner of UNHCR, and we hope others will follow in our footsteps. 

Head over to the Made 51 website to learn more.