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Safe Houses and Jobs provided for LGBTI Refugees



rflag1 by CJF20 via Flickr

Micro Rainbow International CIC selected as semi-finalist in European Social Innovation Competition supporting integration of LGBTI refugees and migrants in the UK


Micro Rainbow International CIC (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.

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”.

The competition seeks creative approaches that help realise the potential of refugees and migrants, enabling them to contribute to the social, economic, cultural and political life of their host countries.

“MRI’s project is not only of high social impact, but its investment structure and potential for future sustainability are critical innovative models within the not for profit sector,” said Mark Donald, Head of London Banking Practice at Weil Gotshal and Manges. “We have been delighted to provide pro-bono legal assistance for this worthwhile project and we wish MRI all the best in this competition,” added Caroline Gershon, Associate at Weil.

TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal programme facilitated the connection between MRI and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. TrustLawconnects the best law firms and corporate legal teams around the world with high-impact NGOs and social enterprises working to create social and environmental change.

Along with 29 other semi-finalists, Micro Rainbow International CIC was invited to the social innovation mentoring academy to progress their ideas with tailored support and workshop sessions. The social innovation academy was held from 4-6 July in Berlin, where semi-finalists took part in workshops and visited German examples of collaborative approaches to helping with integration. Following the academy, ten finalists will be selected by the jury and the three most effective projects will each be awarded with a prize of €50,000 at the awards ceremony in Brussels in October 2016.


How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener




green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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