June 13, 2011

Last week! Get your Blue Key to help refugees

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Angelina Jolie at a refugee camp in Tunisia along the Libya border.

And take part in the first ever #BlueKey Tweetathon today!

JD LasicaAt Socialbrite, a lot of people approach us about cause campaigns. But one in particular is especially worth spotlighting this week: the Blue Key campaign, which ends with World Refugee Day next Monday.

Blue Key was brought to our attention by Socialbrite’s own Shonali Burke, who is helping to show USA for UNHCR — the US-based nonprofit that supports the UN Refugee Agency — how social media can help make a real, on-the-ground difference in the lives of people displaced by war, threats of war, ethnic division and other causes.

How you can help

Blue keys

Before we delve too deeply into the refugee crisis, let’s list two simple things you can do to help out.

(1) The first and most important is to order your Blue Key for a mere $5. A blue key will show the 6,000+ staff members of the UN Refugee Agency around the world that we appreciate their work. The key pin or pendant symbolizes our power to help refugees open the door to a new home and a new future.

Get a Key!

(2) The second thing you can do is to spread the word about Blue Key, on Facebook or Twitter. Here are a few ready-made tweets!

  • Did you know that there are more than 43 million refugees worldwide? Your $5 #bluekey could open a new door for them. http://ow.ly/5d54i
  • “Kite Runner” author Khaled Hosseini says anyone can be a refugee. Last week to get your $5 #bluekey! http://ow.ly/5d59P (pls RT!)

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can change your Twitter avatar or Facebook logo to support Blue Key, like Socialbrite has done.

Special events in next week

Displaced Darfuris Receive Efficient "Hippo Rollers" for Carrying Water

Residents of a camp in north Darfur use water rollers earlier this year. Photo by United Nations

Tweetathon today
Today, from 9 am to 9 pm ET, several several of the Blue Key Champions (I’m one) will be taking part in a Tweetathon. We’ll be tweeting about the campaign, why we’re supporting it and urging people to get a key (remember, they’re just $5 each!). Just like in a good old-fashioned telethon, we’re going to talk #bluekey throughout the day. Just follow the #bluekey hashtag.

Also today, from 1 to 2 pm ET (10 to 11 am PT), Roya Hosseini, wife of Khaled Hosseini — the best-selling author of “The Kite Runner” and a Blue Key campaign supporter — will be joining the conversation on Twitter. Roya manages the operations of and tweets for the Khaled Hosseini Foundation and will be sharing insights into the refugee crisis and why the Blue Key campaign is so important. Follow @UNRefugeeAgency and @tkhf (the Khaled Hosseini Foundation).

The Khaled Hosseini Foundation

June 20: World Refugee Day Luncheon!
If you’ll be in Washington, DC, next Monday, help recognize the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. The World Refugee Day Luncheon takes place June 20, 12:30 to 2 pm, at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW, Washington, DC. Keynote speaker: journalist and author Seymour Hersh. Tickets cost $100. Purchase at http://www.worldrefugeeday.us

Harrowing stories of survival — and how we can help

Most of us will never know the feeling of being forced to leave your home, sometimes forcibly, and have to leave everything behind. On the Blue Key blog, Somali refugees Abdullah Omar, 25, and his wife Khadija related their harrowing ordeal on the Libyan border, resulting in their decision to send their one-year-old daughter back to war-ravaged Somalia.

The average length of displacement in a refugee camp is now a staggering 17 years.

These are real people facing unimaginable circumstances. If you have a child, nephew, niece or cousin, imagine them being separated from their parents or from their homes. There are some pretty startling statistics when it comes to the breadth of the crisis, such as this: there are 17 million refugees and internally displaced children under the age of 18. And this: the average length of displacement in a refugee camp is now a staggering 17 years. (See a 32-page whitepaper on the refugee crisis.)

Please help spread public awareness about the plight of the 43 million of refugees in 128 countries being helped by the UN, and get a blue key for a $5 donation.

If you can’t get and wear your Blue Key for just $5, you can still help:

These people need our help.


UN Flickr photo set on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (amazing photos!)

Find a World Refugee Day event near you

Introducing the Blue Key Champions (from the Blue Key blog)

Get Your Blue Key In Support of World Refugee Day (By Gini Dietrich)

A Simple #BlueKey Can Change the Lives of Thousands (Kami Watson Huyse)

Challenges Beyond Our Own (Kellye Crane)

The Blue Key Campaign: Cynicism and me (Mark Story)

Videos by the UN Agency for Refugees

• The book Unlocking a Better World introduces you to first-hand accounts of those who have faced the unimaginable and yet have the resilience to rebuild their lives.JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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