The Kindness of Strangers

By Kate Hassett

The Kindness of Strangers
Kickstarter campaign raises $1 million for refugees in just 24 hours.

The refugee crisis is seemingly ongoing and never ending. To help resolve the crisis and take action, various government organisations are looking to the private sector to aid in assistance and support.

Earlier this week, President Obama spoke at the UN General Assembly urging Americans to follow their government into addressing this issue.

The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR teamed up with Kickstarter, AirBnB and Instacart to launch three different campaigns to raise money for refugee support across the world.

The UNHCR and Kickstarter joint campaign, called “Aid Refugees” launched on Tuesday. By 4.30pm EST Wednesday, the campaign had raised more than $1 million from more than 16,500 backers.

“We are absolutely elated and I trust that Kickstarter is too, it’s terrific,” said Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director of USA for UNHCR. “The exciting thing is that Kickstarter set an initial goal of $1 million for the whole campaign, and in the first day we have realised that goal.”

Grey also spoke about the newly formed relationship with Kickstarter helping to spread the word of refugees and allowing the organisation to create a space that is approachable and accessible to anyone wanting to learn more about their plight.

“The fundraising is nice and needed, but it is equally as important to get the word out about the plight of refugees,” said Grey. “We can’t underestimate the public education component of this.”

It’s a completely new and revolutionary way for us to work together,” said Grey. “It’s tremendously impactful.”


The refugee crisis has thus far seen almost 12 million people displaced from within the country and abroad. As the numbers grow and the situation continues to worsen, international aid is more necessary than ever. In 2015 alone, more than 550,000 refugees have arrived by sea in Europe – with more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries in the Middle East.

The UNHCR Kickstarter campaign will run for another week, with all fundraising efforts seeing funds attributed directly to refugees in need.

If you want to donate, visit the campaign homepage here. 


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