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Online social networking to raise funds for refugees

world Updated: Apr 08, 2009 11:26 IST

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The United Nations refugee agency will use the popular social networking site Facebook to raise funds for displaced persons in Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan.

Under the scheme, Facebook users can purchase “gifts” for 16 non-profit organisations, including the ‘Gimme Shelter´ campaign of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees A virtual UNHCR tent is of worth $10, while a ‘Gimme Shelter´ token costs $5.

“If 20 friends buy a virtual tent, they will raise enough funds for a refugee family to live in a real tent,” said Claudia Gonzalez-Gisiger, UNHCR’s Senior External Relations Officer. “That’s the power of online social networking.”

The agency’s ‘Gimme Shelter´ campaign is based on a short film of the same name featuring Academy Award winners Ben Affleck and John Toll. Shot in the DRC’s volatile North Kivu province, the film highlights the suffering and hopes of civilians forced from their homes by conflict.