Obama Asks Silicon Valley to Help Refugees

The civil war in Syria has caused millions to flee their homeland, searching for safety and better lives for their children. Since the war outbreak in
2011, Obama’s administration has provided $4.5 billion in aid. As more Syrians leave their home country every day, the need for clothing, food and shelter
continues to grow.

The Obama administration knows how to leverage modern technology to get things done, and that’s what they’ve asked tech companies to focus on. They are looking
for new ways to raise money to help the Syrian refugees, as the support provided so far has been substantial, but still falls short. The U.S. plans to accept 100,000
refugees over the next two years. While it may seem like a significant amount, 12 million have fled Syria so far and at least half of those 12 million are children.
The White House wants everyone to pitch in, maybe not monetarily, but with their skills. And Silicon Valley is heeding the call, with tech startups providing
numerous methods for the everyday person to put spare cash towards the aid effort.

Kickstarter Efforts

Kickstarter’s general policy is that humanitarian non-profits should not be allowed to use their platform for crowd-funding. The system is focused on the individual’s
cause or idea. But in the case of the Syrian refugees, Kickstarter made an exception. They teamed up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and allow
individuals to donate directly to the cause. $15 would buy one person a sleeping bag and mat. $70 provides an emergency rescue kit. $600 can care for a Syrian child
for a year, including education, housing and food.

During the week-long campaign, 27,669 backers raised over $1.7 million dollars to go directly to the refugees in crisis.
Kickstarter waived their 5% fee and the payment processing service did as well, making sure all funds are put to use effectively.

Instacart, Airbnb and More

Kickstarter was not the only tech company to heed Obama’s call. Instacart, an online service for grocery-buying, allows customers to add groceries for refugees as
well. Airbnb is providing free housing to aid workers in areas around the world helping the Syrian refugees. Many corporations in America have pitched in to the #AidRefugees
campaign and donations continue to pour in. For individuals who want to contribute, visit AidRefugees.gov to find out how you can make a difference.

The Crisis Worsens

The Syrian refugees continue to leave their home country and the strain on surrounding country’s resources continues to grow. In places like Jordan, they have been forced
to close their borders to Syria and stop providing refugees with free medical care. Experts report that 86 percent of the refugees are in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, which are
developing countries at best. They do not have the money or the infrastructure necessary to support the sudden influx of people. Now, in the fifth year of the Syrian crisis,
extra help and a focus on donations is paramount. Even with Republican pushback, Obama works to increase the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to relieve the burden
on the developing world.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.