• NFT’s philanthropy: UNHCR’s assistance to Afghanistan

  • To celebrate its 70th anniversary, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched its first charity NFT series to raise funds for Afghanistan.

    Hani Abbas is a Syrian-Palestinian cartoonist who creates images of unforgeable tokens.

    Charity NFTs: UNHCR’s first fundraiser

    Hani Abbas has launched the agency’s first NFT (non-counterfeitable token) sale in partnership with the national partner association, UNHCR Switzerland.

    Abbas created seven cartoons, and ten copies of each will be converted into unique digital assets and sold as NFTs on OpenSea’s marketplace to raise funds for UNHCR’s crisis response efforts in Afghanistan.

    The collection, titled “Windows,” refers to Abbas’s significant experience growing up in Yarmouk, a Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus.

    In the interview, Abbas described the collection as follows.

    “What is the meaning of windows in my mind? They are the windows through which we see the country, through which we see the people – to connect with them, to hear their voices.In 2011, four months after the conflict, I painted the first window – a destroyed building with only one window still standing, a young man with flowers waiting outside to see his lover, who was gone. It represents what we have lost. I also drew other figures who had left everything else behind but carried a window with them because it was their memory. I have my own thoughts and feelings about these images, but I want everyone who looks at them to see what the war has done to people. I want all the people who have problems in their own country to come out.”

    NFT Helping Afghanistan: the mission of the UNHCR

    Just as Abbas managed to escape with his family during his life, first moving to Lebanon and then seeking asylum in Switzerland, so UNHCR managed to enter and explore the world of NFT for its charitable purposes.

    In fact, the funds from the sale will be used to support the population of Afghanistan. The UNHCR’s decision to start with Abbas was also due to the popularity the cartoonist has gained over the years.

    Abbas has appeared in publications such as Time and Freedom in Switzerland and Le Monde in France. He is also a member of Draw for Peace, a network of journalistic cartoonists dedicated to promoting freedom and democracy.In 2014, Abbas received the International Editorial Cartoon Award in Geneva.

    When asked a specific question about NFT, Abbas replied.

    “I have no experience in this area – I just do paintings!” . But every cartoonist wants their work to be seen, and I support these new ideas. Any idea that helps people, explains the tough conditions and problems they face, and gets others to support them. It’s a new idea, and when I heard about it, I loved it. We hope that now it will succeed in focusing attention on [Afghans’] problems and of course making money for them, because they need it.”

    Unforgivable charity tokens

    The UNHCR doesn’t seem to be the first to join the world of non-counterfeitable charity tokens. Last summer, even His Holiness Pope Francis launched his first series of NFT artwork, the proceeds of which will benefit the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation.

    So while the UNHCR considers supporting populations at war and the Pope considers supporting educational foundations, there are others who use the NFT charity formula for environmental issues.

    Back in March 2020, F1® Delta Time launched the NFT “2020 Australia Edition” with a charity auction dedicated to supporting forest fire recovery efforts in Australia.

    The same idea was replicated in Italy last July, when the cultural association The AB Factory, with the participation of Antonio Marras of HACKATAO and other international artists, dedicated their digital NFT work to support the island of Sardinia, which was hit by violent fires.

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