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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Careem to hire 200 refugees over next five years 

The ride-hailing app is partnering with UNHCR to provide opportunities for displaced people

Careem is to offer jobs to refugees to empower individuals from the Middle East. Pawan Singh / The National
Careem is to offer jobs to refugees to empower individuals from the Middle East. Pawan Singh / The National

UAE-based ride-hailing app Careem said on Tuesday that it is to hire 200 refugees as part of an initiative with the UN.

The company plans to work alongside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide opportunities across its operations, spread over 100 cities in 14 countries.

"To meet this commitment, Careem will involve refugees within its operations by providing opportunities for jobs and internships, as well as workshops and mentoring. We aim to achieve this project by 2023," a spokesperson for Careem told The National.

Call centres and Careem's social media departments are some of the teams that will participate in the initiative.

The announcement came during an event by the World Bank and Tent Partnership for Refugees on the sidelines of the United Nation's General Assembly in New York, which focused on the public and private sector working together to solve the refugee crisis.

“We don’t believe that integrating refugees in our business is a noble cause. We believe it is our duty, responsibility and it makes business sense,” Magnus Olsson, Careem's co-founder said.

Khalid Khalifa, UNHCR's regional representative in the Gulf, said that the UN requires the help of the private sector, governments, international organisations and the public to be able to provide those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes with a decent and dignified way of living.

"The refugee crisis is one that is very close to home to the people and corporations of the Middle East and North Africa region, and one that cannot be solved or supported by one organisation alone," Mr Khalifa said.

In May 2017, Careem launched a new feature in partnership with UNHCR to allow passengers to donate towards the support of refugees and displaced people in the Middle East.

"This was done by creating a specific car type that customers can book on the app, which was called UNHCR. The car type lets customers donate three dirhams of their total ride fare," the spokeswoman said.

Customers have taken over 250,000 journeys since the launch of the initiative, resulting in donations of more than US$300,000.

The initiative was created in line with the UAE’s Year of Giving last year, launched by President Shiekh Khalifa bin Zayed.

Careem also had Yousef, a refugee from a camp in Jordan, take over their Instagram handle for 24 hours.

"He showed us his life in the camp and talked about his dream to become an international photographer. When the community learnt that he aspired to become a photographer, [e-commerce company] noon approached us to facilitate sending him a camera and customers approached us to send him the accessories associated with it," the spokeswoman said.

Careem sent Yousef the camera on World Refugee Day, June 20, this year.