#KeepUsWarm YouTube Live Challenge by UNHCR and the Anasala Family Raises Funds to Support Over 1,000 Refugee Families

  • Livestreaming YouTube episode hosted by the Anasala Family raised over $193,000 for UNHCR in support of vulnerable refugee families across the globe
  • First-of-its-kind winter fundraising challenge aimed to provide vital winter support to 300 vulnerable refugee families by having viewers visualize the extremities of dealing with the cold winter conditions live
  • UNHCR had appealed for an additional $211.3 million in late 2020 to urgently support 3.8 million internally displaced people

UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency and YouTube sensation, the Anasala Family, have announced securing over $193,000 in funds to provide lifesaving support to more than 1,000 vulnerable refugee and internally displaced (IDP) families across the      region. Their winder fundraising      challenge, #KeepUsWarm, was launched on YouTube to support refugees in braving the harsh winter season.  

Broadcast live on February 14th, the episode      has been watched by over 8.9 million viewers and exceeded its target of helping 300 refugee families by more than tripling its results. Funds collected through the challenge will help UNHCR provide vital support for families such as shelter repairs, blankets and heaters, as well as winter survival funds so that families can afford heating, winter clothes, food and medicine for their children. This urgent support will be provided to vulnerable families residing in countries with harsh winters such as      Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.

“We are incredibly grateful for the immense support we have received from the public who came together during this episode and have shown much humanity and generosity in efforts to protect the most vulnerable populations worldwide,” stated Houssam Chahine, UNHCR’s Chief of Private Sector Partnerships in the MENA region. “We are also immensely grateful for the support we have received from our      supporters, the Anasala Family and AlFan , who have used their voice to advocate for the rights of struggling refugees and displaced persons worldwide. We hope to continue working together to amplify the voice of those forced from their homes in the region and across the globe and draw greater attention to their plight, especially during the harsh winter months.”

Launched at 9:00pm Gulf Standard Time (GST), the live YouTube fundraising challenge marked Mila, Anasala’s daughter’s birthday, and managed to reach over [8 million people worldwide. The episode featured Anas and Ossama Marwah who started off the challenge by wearing as little clothing as possible and with every $1,000 donation, the creators were able to bundle up and keep warm for 1 minute. The aim was to support vulnerable refugees through inviting Anasala’s viewers to visualize the extremities of coping with the cold weather through this emergency winter appeal. 

“We’re so happy and proud of our collaboration with UNHCR that not only helped thousands of families in need this winter, but also showed us the impact and scale of such unconventional projects through platforms like YouTube,” stated Anas & Anasala.

The live also featured Asala Maleh and Ahmed Al Nasheet who joined in to support the initiative. Calling in other regional content creators, such as Mo Vlogs, Abo Flah and Saudi Reporters, Anas challenged others to show their solidarity, with each donating to the cause and asking their audiences to come together to create the largest livestream YouTube fundraising challenge in the Arab world.     

Raefah Makki, UNHCR’s Private Sector Partnerships Head of Campaign and Advocacy in MENA, stated “The generous and inspiring challenge launched by the Anasala family will help us provide urgent and lifesaving support to vulnerable refugee families at a time when the world continues to face the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making it especially difficult for the world’s most marginalised communities who are already struggling to make ends meet and cope with the harsh winter conditions. This challenge is testament to the power of  people coming together and the impact we can leave as individuals, no matter how big or small our contribution.”

Although the #KeepUsWarm challenge continues to receive generous donations, UNHCR had appealed for an additional $211.3 million in late 2020 to urgently support 3.8 million internally displaced people, refugees and asylum-seekers cope with the harsh conditions during this winter season. The funds will allow UNHCR to continue to provide critical and lifesaving support through its winterisation programme, providing vulnerable families with core winter relief items, cash support, and assistance in weatherproofing their homes during a season when keeping warm becomes a struggle for survival.
To learn more about the #KeepUsWarm initiative and donate funds to vulnerable refugee and displaced families, click here: https://giving.unhcr.org/en/anasala/

About UNHCR:

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality.