Dubai - UNHCR figures show that there are 14 million displaced Syrian and Iraqi people in the region.
Help keep refugees warm during the winter season through the United Nations refugee agency's (UNHCR) new fundraising campaign, launched in the UAE recently.
The #KnitForRefugees campaign is a five-month-long global campaign of the UNHCR, which has partnered with Twitter and Kniterate to shed light on the struggle of refugees every winter.
Supporting the cause is simple: If you retweet the UNHCR's tweet about the plight of refugees, Kniterate's unique automatic knitting machine will be activated and start creating a tapestry. The same activation will take place in several countries in the coming months, until the chilly season starts.
After the retweeting the tweet from UNHCR's account @Refugees, a reply will also be sent, encouraging people to donate.
"There seems to be a lot of misinformation and, in many cases, lack of information and accuracy about refugees and what they go through. So, we at UNHCR are always looking for new ways and channels to reach as many people as possible and share the correct information to educate them about refugees. Partnerships like this help us raise awareness, generate empathy, inspire and mobilise action. In this case, the action is to get people to donate towards this campaign," said Bathoul Ahmed, the UNHCR spokesperson.
"Ultimately, when we raise the money we need, it helps provide the assistance to save lives. The needs in the region are really significant but, sadly, the situation does not get the attention it deserves anymore. Media coverage has dwindled over the past few years, but this is normal when a crisis has gone on for a long time. Campaigns like these are important to remind people of the struggle of refugees."
UNHCR figures show that there are 14 million displaced Syrian and Iraqi people in the region and nearly six million refugees in neighbouring countries.
Last year, 3.6 million internally displaced Syrian and Iraqi people and refugees were given winter assistance by the agency.
"I have personally worked in Lebanon and Jordan on the Syria crisis. I have visited those sights and I've met children and women. In many cases, you would see children with bleeding and chapped hands because of the winter weather. Their hands and feet were ice cold," Ahmed said.
Stephanie Terroir, head of brand strategy for Mena at Twitter, said: "The statistics demonstrate that staying warm during winter is one of the biggest challenges facing refugees. Our aim was to identify a solution with the support of our EMEA lab team to not merely raise awareness to UNHCR's cause but urge people to donate. This campaign, in collaboration with Kniterate, was initiated to engage the public to collectively participate in knitting a tapestry via one of its digital machines."
The campaign will end on November 30 and the results will be shared during the Global Summit of Refugees in Geneva.