Celebrities from Middle East and North Africa to front Ramadan fundraising campaign for refugees.
Thirty celebrities from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have lent their support to a fundraising campaign spearheaded by MBC Hope in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, in support of the region’s most vulnerable refugees.
The campaign, which coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, features a 30-part daily reality TV series called “Basmet Amal”, or “Touch of Hope”, and an online donation platform. Each episode is hosted by a different celebrity, over the course of the month, whereby viewers will gain insight into the hopes, fears and daily lives of those forced to flee their homeland. The series features inspirational stories from some of the region’s largest hosting countries where millions of refugees currently reside, including Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia.
Globally, the MENA region accounts for the largest relative share of private donations to UNHCR, which reach their peak during Ramadan.
Amin Awad, UNHCR Director for the Middle East and North Africa Bureau, said: "The Middle East and North Africa region continues to witness unprecedented levels of displacement. More than anything else, what the world needs is conflict prevention and political will to bring about peace”.
The Middle East and North Africa region is home to refugees from countries including Syria, Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia, many of whom have been living away from their homes for years. Alarmingly, 51% of refugees in the Middle East and North Africa were children in 2014.
Mazen Hayek, MBC Group’s official spokesman – group director of commercial, PR & CSR, said: “MBC Hope’s Touch of Hope campaign brings an added value this holy month by offering life-saving assistance to 20,000 refugee families. Giving our voices to displaced and needy people in general; but mostly to Syrian refugees in particular, makes this charitable season even more meaningful. Seeing hope everywhere and creating hope where it matters most, remain our all-time commitments.”
The region is also home to the greatest displacement crisis of the era, namely Syria, which has caused some 4.8 million people to flee their homes to neighbouring countries and beyond.
Each 10-minute episode will air at primetime across the region, when families traditionally gather around their TV screens before breaking their fast. After meeting a different group of refugees, the celebrity hosts will call on the public to offer their support through fundraising and other acts of solidarity, and guide them to the campaign’s online donation page.
The series will also showcase examples of local generosity, including an Egyptian doctor who offers free surgeries for refugees, and Jordanian teenager who is raising funds for cochlear implants for children suffering from hearing impairments in Jordan’s Za’atari Camp.
The show broadcasts on MBC1 at 1500 GMT/ 1800 KSA.