CAN Mezzanine customer Micro Rainbow International (MRI) has been selected from over 1,000 applicants from 36 countries as a semi-finalist in the 2016 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition.
Open to applicants across Europe, this year’s Competition theme ‘Integrated Futures’ saw the judges choose entries with the potential to address the reception and integration of refugees and migrants in Europe. Three €50,000 prizes will be awarded to the best ideas.
MRI is a UK based social enterprise that tackles poverty within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) community. It has operations in Cambodia, Brazil and the UK and supports LGBTI people to improve their livelihoods by setting up small businesses, finding training and jobs. In the UK, MRI provides a lifeline to hundreds of LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers who live below the poverty line.
In addition, MRI is developing a project that will provide safe housing to LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers to help them integrate into British society and to end LGBT poverty. This commercial activity will generate profits and subsidise a suite of additional services to aid the integration of LGBTI refugees, including peer support groups, employability workshops, coaching and technical assistance in setting up SMEs.
Sebastian Rocca, Founder and CEO at MRI said: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted as a semi-finalist for the European Social Innovation award. LGBTI refugees leave their countries after having experienced torture, imprisonment or violence just because of whom they are. On arrival in the UK they are often accommodated in unsafe housing, which damages their mental health, destroys their self-esteem.
Several reported having been abused in their accommodation. These factors contribute to their situation of poverty and jeopardise their chances of integration. With this project we see an opportunity not only to provide safe housing to LGBTI refugees, but also to build a self-sustainable activity that will generate additional income to support LGBTI refugees further in their integration in the UK. It is a no brainer; with MRI’s business model everyone wins”.
Visit Micro Rainbow International’s website to find out moreabout their work.
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