Under UN scheme, Facebook users can lend refugees a hand

7 April 2009
A young Afghan stands in the entrance of a UNHCR-supplied tent. Facebook users can help buy such tents for refugees

Thanks to a partnership with the United Nations refugee agency, the over two million users of the popular social networking website Facebook can now lend a hand to uprooted people around the world in need of shelter.

Under a new virtual charity scheme, Facebook users can purchase “gifts” for 16 non-profit organizations, including the “Gimme Shelter” campaign of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Under the scheme to benefit refugees in Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan, a virtual UNHCR tent is $10, while a “Gimme Shelter” token is $5.

“If 20 friends buy a virtual tent, they will raise enough funds for a refugee family to live in a real tent,” said Claudia Gonzalez-Gisiger, UNHCR’s Senior External Relations Officer. “That’s the power of online social networking.”

The agency’s “Gimme Shelter” campaign is based on a short film of the same name by Academy Award winners Ben Affleck and John Toll. Shot in the DRC’s volatile North Kivu province, it highlights the suffering and hopes of civilians forced from their homes by conflict.


♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.