Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Jamil Khan, Seinor Reporter
With COVID-19 potentially impacting displaced refugee communities across the world, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working tirelessly to provide lifesaving support to the most vulnerable.
In response to the pandemic, UNHCR has appealed for additional funds to sustain its increased emergency response efforts, a call which TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile video, has answered eagerly with a new initiative.
Now live on the platform throughout the holy month of Ramadan, the new #everygiftcounts challenge mobilises TikTok’s highly active community of creators across the Middle East to support UNHCR and the plight of refugees through a simple-yet-impactful act.
Celebrities and popular TikTok content creators from across the region including Balqees Fathi (@balqeesfathi ), Karen Wazen (@karenwazen), Raya Abirached (@rayaofficial), Yara (@yara ), Noor Stars (@noorstars), and Ansala family (@ansalafam) have posted videos labelled #everygiftcounts with inspiring messages of support.
Videos posted under the hashtag will encourage an amplified effect – as more people on the platform engage with the challenge, donations will increase until funds reach a $200,000 threshold.
Users are encouraged to create and post original videos of their own, sharing positivity and bringing the UNHCR’s emergency relief response to users’ attention, with $2 donated for every video posted under the hashtag and an additional $0.1 for every view of content related to the challenge viewed.
Millions of refugees and IDPs observing Ramadan this year are already facing a difficult reality. Most refugees live a hand-to-mouth existence, reliant on casual labour opportunities that have now vanished, as restrictions of movement and other public health measures trigger a global economic downturn.
Funds raised by the challenge will be deployed towards UNHCR programmes in support of refugees and displaced families in need to counter the huge impact of COVID-19 in MENA.
UNHCR is working with governments and humanitarian partners to ensure that refugees and internally displaced people are included in national COVID-19 response plans and is expanding cash and other forms of assistance. But urgent and additional financial support is needed now to help ensure that people can survive these challenging times.
The #everygiftcounts challenge is the latest initiative spearheaded by TikTok in the Mena region that aims to drive positive, meaningful and long-lasting impact of local communities and raise awareness of important causes.
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