Cover Julia and Yuri Milner attend the 2019 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center in California (Photo: Getty Images)

With help from Airbnb, Flexport and Spotify, Tech For Refugees will support refugee relief and humanitarian programmes around the world

In honour of the United Nation’s World Refugee Day, we shine a light on the important work being done in the Tatler community to make the world a better place.

Technology companies Airbnb, Flexport and Spotify are working alongside the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, established by tech investor Yuri Milner and his wife Julia Milner, on an initiative called Tech For Refugees, to help fight the refugee crisis by providing basic necessities to all of those impacted.

By the end of 2021, 89.3 million individuals worldwide had been forced to flee their home, more than double the figure from a decade ago and a sharp increase on the previous year. As a result, above one per cent of the world’s population, or 1 in 88 people, had been forcibly displaced by the end of 2021, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. “The question is no longer if forced displacement will exceed 100 million people – but rather when,” the aid agency said in a report addressing the crisis last year.

Inspired by the Stand With Ukraine GoFundMe campaign launched by actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher in March for refugees fleeing from the war in Ukraine, Tech For Refugees will leverage the expertise and networks of leading organisations to make a difference.

Established in 2012, the Milners’ charitable foundation, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, is dedicated to celebrating scientific achievement, and has so far made a US$100 million pledge, the majority of which will aid civilians fleeing from Ukraine.

Airbnb is offering free, short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine; Flexport.org, the charitable wing of digital freight forwarder Flexport, will use the company’s logistics platform to deliver hospital beds, emergency medical equipment and other critical aid; and Spotify Premium is offering their audio services free of charge to Ukrainian refugees as a way of healing through music therapy.

“We have been devastated by the heart-breaking suffering of the Ukrainian people. We believe that this initiative, in partnership with some of the world’s most creative technology companies and organisations, can provide practical assistance for people living in turmoil outside their homeland,” says Yuri Milner.

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