World Refugee Day, observed on June 20th each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees across the globe. In addition to the ongoing refugee crisis in Ukraine, millions of people are fleeing conflicts in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, and more. This displacement of so many individuals, families, and communities has widespread moral, logistical, and economic implications.
Through the Zendesk Foundation Tech for Good program, Zendesk donates its products to nonprofits working to solve urgent and complex social problems. The 2021 refugee crisis in Afghanistan prompted Tech for Good to redouble efforts to support nonprofits working to provide information and aid to people fleeing that country. More recently, given the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have worked to support nonprofits on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Much like the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine has galvanized a host of innovations around mutual aid, with startup civil society organizations coming together to support the millions of people whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict. Created sometimes overnight, and built with modern technology tools, digital platforms allow refugees to access critical aid and services.
Several organizations built on Zendesk are working on one of the greatest humanitarian needs: safe accommodation for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict. These new Zendesk instances are helping connect willing hosts with refugees who need a place to stay.
These Tech for Good partners are assisting Ukrainians inside and outside the country in a multitude of ways.
Access to services
United for Ukraine provides emergency relief, humanitarian assistance, and essential information to those fleeing the crisis in Ukraine. Launched in April 2022, this online resource portal powered by Zendesk, helps individuals and families fleeing Ukraine find shelter, job opportunities, psychological support, legal aid, and other critical resources by connecting them with accurate and timely information, and a network of trained professionals.
United for Ukraine is the latest resource to be supported by Signpost, a global humanitarian technology program currently operating in 18 countries that helps refugees find resources to meet their urgent needs. Signpost platforms house user-friendly content that can be accessed and shared via familiar digital and social channels in the languages spoken by its users.
Center for Humanitarian Technology is a U.S.-based organization that works with staff on the ground in Mariupol, Ukraine to provide a referral hub for refugees fleeing Ukraine to get access to a number of critical services such as evacuation planning, small cash disbursements, mental health assistance, and translation services.
To date, the Signpost project has connected over 24 million people with the information needed to make critical decisions and find reliable access to vital services. Twenty-three Zendesk employees are currently supporting Signpost with pro bono volunteering. In further support of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide, the Zendesk Foundation has donated over $1.3M USD in unrestricted grants to the IRC since 2019. Watch a short film about Signpost.
Access to shelter
These partners are all focused on providing access to shelter within Europe, especially within the U.K. and Germany:
- ICanHelpHost connects refugees with access to over 10,000 hosts across the U.K. and Europe.
- #UnterKunft Ukraine is a digital platform that helps people who have fled Ukraine—or are in the process of doing so—with safe and reliable access to accommodations in Germany.
- Rotary Club Berlin organizes and coordinates accommodations for Ukrainian refugees in Berlin.
Access to funds
The Red Cross – Poland works in partnership with AWS and the American Red Cross to get monthly cash donations to Ukrainian families in need.
How you can help
This World Refugee Day, please help ensure refugees and displaced people have access to the tools, resources, and opportunities that will help them rebuild their lives.
The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. The IRC has been providing aid to refugees and asylum seekers since the end of WWII. To help the IRC continue to provide this and other critical support, donate here.
For families starting over in a new country, words of kindness and compassion can mean everything. Writing a note or recording a video message takes just a few minutes but makes a huge impact on refugee children and families.
For families starting over in a new country, words of kindness and compassion can mean everything.
The 2021 withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan prompted a crisis for tens of thousands of Afghans who were evacuated to the U.S. and need legal representation as they seek permanent legal status. Help spread the word to support the hundreds of lawyers giving Afghan evacuees critical pro bono legal services.
Join the thousands of supporters who have called their representatives, written letters, shared campaigns, or otherwise mobilized to advocate for protection for refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S. Learn more about how to help.
Tech for Good impact awards
On June 2, 2022, the Zendesk Foundation Tech for Good program announced it is giving away $500,000 in grants and free software to nonprofit organizations that can use Zendesk’s technology to magnify their impact. Applications are open until September 12; learn more here.