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World Refugee Day: Microsoft pledges to raise funds for UNHCR on Facebook

News Stories, 16 June 2009

© UNHCR
Poster for UNHCR/Microsoft collaboration.

GENEVA, June 16 (UNHCR) To mark World Refugee Day, UNHCR partner Microsoft has pledged US$50,000 to the agency's "Gimme Shelter" campaign through Causes, the Facebook platform that allows users to raise money for a non-profit organization or political campaign.

"Up to a maximum of US$50,000, we will donate US$1 for every person who joins UNHCR's Gimme Shelter Facebook cause," said L.Michael Golden, corporate vice president of education at Microsoft Corp. "Microsoft will also match donations raised on the Facebook Causes platform dollar-for-dollar."

The UN refugee agency created a special Gimme Shelter page on Causes late last year. This came soon after the launch of UNHCR's flagship fund-raising and awareness campaign, which is centred on a short film by Ben Affleck, set to the classic Rolling Stones track "Gimme Shelter."

"We are delighted by this new initiative," said Claudia Gisiger-Gonzalez, the officer responsible for public relations at UNHCR. "This will help users double their donation, or effectively make a donation simply by joining the Gimme Shelter cause."

Matthew Mahan, head of non-profit relations for Causes, said it was important to help agencies like UNHCR raise awareness and funds. "By leveraging the Causes' platform, the UNHCR campaign will be able to empower more people to participate in a meaningful way in carrying out the organization's mission," he said, adding: "Causes is thrilled to be a part of the initiative."

UNHCR and Microsoft have been working together since 1999 to apply creative technology solutions in support of efficient refugee protection and assistance programmes, and to provide refugee youth with greater access to education. The partners will be marking World Refugee Day on Saturday.

By Hannah Freya Anderson in Geneva

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Shelter

One of the first things that people need after being forced to flee their homes, whether they be refugees or internally displaced, is some kind of a roof over their head.

World Refugee Day 2009

Marked each year on June 20. Find out all about World Refugee Day 2009 here.

Related Internet Links

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Shelter for the Displaced in Yemen

The port city of Aden in southern Yemen has long been a destination for refugees, asylum-seekers and economic migrants after making the dangerous sea crossing from the Horn of Africa. Since May 2011, Aden also has been providing shelter to tens of thousands of Yemenis fleeing fighting between government forces and armed groups in neighbouring Abyan governorate.

Most of the 157,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) from Abyan have found shelter with friends and relatives, but some 20,000 have been staying in dozens of public schools and eight vacant public buildings. Conditions are crowded with several families living together in a single classroom.

Many IDPs expected their displacement would not be for long. They wish to return home, but cannot do so due to the fighting. Moreover, some are fearful of reprisals if they return to areas where many homes were destroyed or severely damaged in bombings.

UNHCR has provided emergency assistance, including blankets, plastic sheeting and wood stoves, to almost 70,000 IDPs from Abyan. Earlier this year, UNHCR rehabilitated two buildings, providing shelter for 2,000 people and allowing 3,000 children, IDPs and locals, to resume schooling in proper classrooms. UNHCR is advocating with the authorities for the conversion of additional public buildings into transitional shelters for the thousands of IDPs still living in schools.

Photographer Pepe Rubio Larrauri travelled to Aden in March 2012 to document the day-to-day lives of the displaced.

Shelter for the Displaced in Yemen

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UNHCR providing shelter to Pakistan flood victims

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A former nurse, Fadia found life as a refugee in Lebanon to be especially difficult without employment. She counts herself lucky to be living in a shelter paid for by aid agencies, but food and other necessities are harder to come by. Fadia's is one of 145,000 Syrian families in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq headed by women. Poverty, isolation and fear of exploitation are just some of the hardships they face.