Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes, Airbnb pledge humanitarian support for Afghan refugees

afghan refugees

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. Source: AAP/Eric Risberg.

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie have thrown their support behind artist Ben Quilty to raise funds for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to support Afghan refugees, with the pair pledging to match the first $1 million raised via the campaign with $1 million of their own money. 

The UNHCR is providing vital on-the-ground emergency support to Afghan refugees as the situation in Kabul intensifies. 

Quilty’s campaign is well on its way to meeting the $1 million target, having raised more than $560,000 at the time of publication. 

Over the weekend Cannon-Brookes called on his Twitter followers to support the campaign, saying even $10 will “make a difference”. 

It comes as other tech companies are also pledging humanitarian support for Afghan refugees. 

Earlier this week, the charitable arm of Airbnb committed to providing temporary housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees at a free or discounted rate with the company footing the rest of the bill.

Airbnb’s co-founder and chief executive, Brian Chesky, will also be personally contributing to the program’s operational costs .

Chesky said the scheme would not be possible without the generosity of Airbnnb hosts.

“If you’re willing to host a refugee family, reach out and I’ll connect you with the right people here to make it happen,” he said.

“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the US and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel a responsibility to step up. I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to waste.”

Refugees will be invited to stay in properties listed on Airbnb’s website.

Details on which countries the program will run, and for how long the support will be available, are still to be finalised but the company said that it would work with resettlement agencies and partners “to go where the need goes, and evolve this initiative and our support as necessary”. 

Last week Airbnb and its charitable arm provided emergency funding and support to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), HIAS and Church World Service to provide immediate temporary stays via its platform for an initial 1,000 people who have escaped Afghanistan. On the weekend alone, 165 refugees were placed in safe housing after touching down in the US.

Part of this article was first published by The Mandarin


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