UNHCR’s ‘Every Second Counts’ Ramadan campaign assists 58,000 refugees and internally displaced for one year

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  • Funds will be used to provide refugees and displaced families including women, children and the elderly with lifeline cash assistance 
  • Ramadan campaign exceeds target through donations received via Zakat and Sadaqah during the holy month this year
Amouna 7, is carrying some coriander leaves she borrowed from the neighbours, she and her brother are standing outside their home in Bardiya village, 80 km northwest of Mosul. She told our colleagues that she likes Ramadan, because neighbours share food with one another, and she gets to stay up late. ; After closure of many displacement camps in Iraq by the Iraqi authorities, many people had no choice but to return to their villages and towns. Many of these villages lacked basic services, roads, and many homes were damaged, and schools and roads were destroyed. UNHCR and partners are assessing needs of villages and helping returnees in remote areas in Nineveh to regain their lives. In some areas, roads are important as they are lifelines to connect villages to big towns. In some other areas, schools were destroyed, like in Bardiya village in Zummar District, 80 km northwest of Mosul. UNHCR has rehabilitated one of the two schools in Risala so that students can go back to school, and their return is sustainable. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who returned to their points of origin still lack access to basic services including education to ensure returns are sustainable. UNHCR works with the Iraqi Government to ensure that IDPs and returnees have the documents they need to access these services.

UNHCR’s global Ramadan campaign has reached its target with enough funds to assist more than 58,000 refugees and internally displaced people in 13 countries with lifesaving support for an entire year. 

More than 17,500 donors from the MENA region supported the campaign. Nearly 70 percent of donations were made as Zakat and Sadaqah donations through the Refugee Zakat Fund online platform and the newly launched – first UN Zakat mobile app – GiveZakat.

The funds will be used to provide refugees and internally displaced people, including women, children and the elderly across Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nigeria, part of the Sahel region, and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, with safe shelter, food, clean water, medicine and other basic amenities. 

“As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable families and individuals are even more in need of our help”, said Houssam Chahine, Chief of Private Sector Partnerships for MENA at UNHCR. “As such we look at the private sector to step up its role of social responsibility in addressing the current and growing challenges and humanitarian needs,” he added.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous donations made by individuals and our philanthropic partners, mainly from the region and in the GCC countries, which enabled us to support 11,600 refugees and internally displaced families in need, which is almost 58,000 individuals. It is also heartening to see the positive reception of our global campaign ‘Every Second Counts’, and people’s trust in our programmes and platforms such as the Refugee Zakat Fund and more recently, the GiveZakat app”, added Chahine. 

‘Every Second Counts’ global Ramadan campaign highlighted the impact which individuals can create within seconds in the lives of refugees and displaced families, who have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety. The campaign kicked off with the support of media partners, celebrities and influencers in the Arab world who mobilized their audiences to take action and make every second count for refugees around the world.

Last year’s campaign, reached around 8,141 individuals with lifesaving support for an entire year, marking a vast increase which is reflective of the campaign’s reach and impact on people around the world. 

With the growth of UNHCR’S Refugee Zakat Fund, the GiveZakat application provides the tools to calculate annual Zakat and contribute directly to those most in need, with a feature allowing donors to track their contribution until it reaches its intended beneficiaries. 100 percent of Zakat funds donated through the Refugee Zakat Fund go directly to the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced persons, including those in hard-to-reach areas. 

Individuals who are interested to calculate their annual Zakat or for more information on the work UNCHR is doing on-ground, they can visit https://giving.unhcr.org/ or download the GiveZakat app. 

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.

About UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund:

In a bid to strengthen partnerships with Zakat institutions and donors, the Refugee Zakat Fund was launched by UNHCR in 2019, harnessing the power of Zakat and Sadaqah to transform the lives of refugees and IDPs. The fund is backed by more than 10 fatwas, most recently from the International Islamic Fiqh Academy and Al Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy. Moreover, the fund is subject to strict governance, ensuring the utmost transparency at every step – from donation to provision of assistance. In 2020, the fund has helped 2.1 million beneficiaries in 13 countries including Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Mauritania, Niger, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, through Zakat & Sadaqah donations.