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Kickstarter Partners With United Nations In Campaign To Help Refugees

The United Nations Refugee Agency and Kickstarter have joined forces in an effort to raise money to help migrants fleeing the violence in Syria.

In a video, Anne-Marie Gray, executive director and CEO of USA for UNHCR, said this "human tragedy" is the "largest migration crisis of our time."

And, she added, "We all have a responsibility."

The White House also added to this call, conjuring the story of how in 1885, thousands of Americans banded together to collect millions to build a base for the Statue of Liberty.

Obama said that while the U.S. is contributing as a country to help refugees, regular Americans should step in, too.

"This isn't just about what I can do as President," Obama said. "Every single one of us – from citizens to NGOs – can help refugees find safe haven."

So far, the campaign has raised more than $928,000 from more than 14,000 people. Kickstarter says it is not charging its usual 5 percent fee, so all the funds — minus a credit card processing fee of about 2 percent — will go to USA for UNHCR.

Update at 4:19 p.m. ET. A Small Dent:

Julien Schopp, director of humanitarian practice at InterAction, an alliance of non-profits, told NPR's Robert Siegel that one of the problems with this campaign is that it will make a small dent in the kind of money that UNHCR needs to raise to meet their needs.

At the moment, UNHCR needs $4 billion. However, Schopp says, Kickstarter can help reach a new generation of people, who may be interested in giving.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.