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Artist Ben Quilty and Atlassian co-founder raises $1M for Afghan refugees

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Sydney-Australian artist Ben Quilty and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes with wife Annie have joined forces to raise urgent funds for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and displaced Afghan families – with all funds raised by Quilty to be matched by Cannon-Brookes’ up to the first million.

“UNHCR are on the ground in Kabul. They will not abandon Afghanistan. I want to help too. Too many people have been abandoned in Afghanistan, by us,” said Ben Quilty. “Now is the time for Australians to stand up for Afghans in this time of desperate crisis and need. Please help the UNHCR help the Afghan people.” “UNHCR is doing incredible work. It’s part of what inspired Annie and I to support. We can make a real difference to thousands of Afghan people, thanks to the generosity of people half a world away,” said MikeCannon-Brookes.

For over four decades, UNHCR has operated in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries supporting millions of Afghans displaced by years of conflict. Since the start of 2021, over 550,000 Afghans have been newly displaced inside the country due to mounting conflict and human rights violations – approximately 60% are children.

There are explicit concerns for the safety and rights of women and girls – who make up 80 per cent of all Afghans forced to flee since the end of May. According to the UN, more women and children were killed and wounded in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009.

“At this critical and heartbreaking time, it’s more important than ever before that we all stand in solidarity with Afghans in their hour of need,” said Naomi Steer, National Director of Australia for UNHCR. “It’s very inspiring to see two prominent figures in the Australian arts and tech world step up and lead the way in support of the many vulnerable Afghan men, women and children who are facing a very uncertain future.

”As part of the broader UN country team and lead in the protection and emergency shelter in Afghanistan, UNHCRis continuing to deliver humanitarian assistance and support to the Afghan people in a complex, volatile and extremely challenging security environment.

UNHCR colleagues remain committed on the ground to deliver protection support and assess the immediate needs of those displaced – teams are providing emergency shelter and non-food items, cash assistance, hygiene and sanitary kits, referrals to medical care and psychosocial support. Women’s healthcare and education programs continue. Additional international support is critical as these needs continue to grow.

To donate to Ben Quilty’s dollar-matched campaign please go to crisis-in-afghanistan.raisely.com/ben-quiltyTo donate to Australia for UNCHR’s Emergency Appeal for Afghanistan go tounrefugees.org.au/afghanistancrisis or call 1300 361 288.

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