10 November 2021

Individual Australians and corporates have donated $10 million in support of displaced Afghan families and children – the biggest private sector contribution globally to the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) work in Afghanistan, ahead of many governments.

Since Australia for UNHCR launched its Afghanistan appeal on 16 August, a record number of funds – the highest in the organisation’s 21-year history – have been raised for UNHCR’s lifesaving emergency assistance and livelihood programs including in health, education and employment.

National Director of Australia for UNHCR, Naomi Steer, says there has been an overwhelming response from everyday Australians who are finding creative and innovative ways to demonstrate their support for Afghanistan. 

“The extraordinary public response to this crisis reflects how strongly people feel about the situation right now in Afghanistan and the plight of more than 3.6 million people displaced within the country,” she said.

“I am so grateful to our donors right across Australia – from individuals, business, the arts and sports community and notable philanthropists – who have joined together in supporting Afghan people at this critical time and ensuring UNHCR can continue delivering vital humanitarian relief.”

Australian cricket legend and long-standing Australia for UNHCR Special Representative Ian Chappell is currently leading his own Batting for Afghanistan campaign with support from high profile sporting greats including Shane Warne, Sam Kerr, Sonny Bill Willams, David Warner, Paralympic legend Louise Sauvage, Afghan cricketer Rashid Khan and the Women’s Four Rowing team who won gold in Tokyo.

Artist Ben Quilty raised $6 million, including generous $1m donations from Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and Annie Todd, his co-founder Scott Farquhar and Kim Jackson, and Karen Wilson of the Wilson Foundation. Quilty’s campaign galvanised the Australian art community with hundreds of artists auctioning off works and one-of-a-kind pieces.

With UNHCR’s Afghanistan operation still less than half funded (42%), support is urgently needed to prepare for winter where temperatures can reach as low as minus 25 degrees. Makeshift shelters for displaced families do not protect against the cold and people have little money to buy fuel, heaters or medicine. 

UNHCR is currently operating in all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Teams have provided life-saving support to almost half a million people, the majority of them children, who have been displaced this year.

“UNHCR is prioritising winter planning as well as working to ensure the rights of women and girls. Urgent help is needed to continue providing shelter, water, sanitation, hygiene kits, healthcare, psychosocial support, core relief items and cash assistance,” said Ms Steer.

To donate to Australia for UNCHR’s Emergency Appeal for Afghanistan go to unrefugees.org.au/afghanistancrisis or call 1300 361 288.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jasmine Turvey
[email protected]
+61 437 762 320

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