Plight of individual refugees focus of Ramadan campaign

Fundraising and awareness-raising drive produced in UAE for the first time

UN Refugee Agency, has launched its new global campaign in Ramadan called ‘Be The Light’, that brings to life the journey of refugees in their efforts to find safety. Courtesy: UNHCR
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The personal traumas experienced by refugees is the focus of a new global Ramadan campaign aiming to raise money for displaced people.

The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, will screen a 90-second video on TV stations and online for the remainder of the holy month, in an attempt to bring to life the individual experiences faced by around 68 million people who have been forced to leave their homes due to war or persecution.

The campaign, created in the UAE for the first time, focuses on the fear, loneliness, homesickness and boredom that are a daily feature of life, particularly for those in refugee camps. It also highlights the traumatic, often violent incidents that caused them to flee their homes.

It follows the story of three individuals struggling to get to safety – Bilal, Salem and Amina – who were invented for the purposes of the fundraising drive but represent real scenarios faced by millions.

The campaign has been called ‘Be The Light’.

“We want refugees to have the opportunity to look forward,” said Omer Elnaiem, UNHCR's head of campaigns in the Middle East and North Africa.

“At UNHCR, we are dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees. The number of refugees is growing faster than the world’s ability to respond. This Ramadan, we are urging people to Be The Light by donating during the holy month to help refugees look forward.”

Around 25.4 million displaced people are refugees under UNHCR care.

The UNHCR received around 87 per cent of its budget, US$ 7.7 billion in 2017, from governments and the European Union.

UNHCR appointed Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a public relations company, to develop this year’s campaign.

Elias Markopoulos, of Hill+Knowlton Strategies MENA, said: “We wanted to create a campaign that brought to life the emotional and physical journey a refugee experiences to find safety."