On June 20 and 21, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, marked World Refugee Day in Dubai Festival City Mall showcasing refugees’ stories through a virtual reality special booth.

The event intended to increase public awareness on refugees' plight in the region and globally. Visitors to UNHCR’S booth were taken into a virtual reality journey where they could see and experience what is like to be a refugee. They were invited afterward to add their name and join Voices for Refugees campaign as a supporter for refugees. In case you missed it, the booth was located in the South Wing of Festival City Mall and contained an actual UNHCR Refugees’ Shelter Unit that visitors were able to experience.

The launch of the campaign would not have been successful without the generous support of Al-Futtaim Group hosting the activation booth for two days and enabling great awareness on World Refugee Day. This important event has quickly borne fruit as in just two days, more than 1400 new voices joined UNHCR;s campaign.

At the booth, visitors stopped to engage with UNHCR staff in order to learn about its role and mandate, as well as to have more insights about refugees’ needs in the region. Others stopped to ask about donating to UNHCR, more specifically about the Zakat campaign, while many visitors were also experiencing the life in a tent by entering the Refugees’ Shelter Unit. Some of these visitors signed up to became potential donors or receive news about refugees around the world using interactive screens and IPads, while others took give away bracelets to show their support for the campaign. Moreover, the overall social media coverage of the event helped maximize exposure and increased public participation with the campaign.

Not only did the event mark the World Refugee Day through a new way of public engagement, it also served as a key event to launch UNHCR’s Face to Face programme in the region.

UNHCR is committed to working closely with communities in the region to upsurge awareness and more solidarity with one of the most pressing humanitarian crises of our time. Stay tuned to more upcoming events in UAE and the region, and be part of our future activities.   

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