‘I Am Not a Number’: Big Heart Foundation Social Campaign Challenges Popular Perception of Refugees

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #NotANumber. The community awareness campaign aims to drive a change in people’s perception about refugees – stop seeing them as a community defined by a ‘number’ or a socioeconomic pressure on host nations, to seeing them as individuals with aspirations and talents similar to those of non-refugees.

The campaign coincides with TBHF’s preparations to host the third edition of Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support, organised in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It shares the award’s goal in paying tribute to individuals and organisations who have made real positive change in the lives of refugees or the internally displaced.

The campaign has made a presence on both print and visual media to raise awareness about the growing refugee crisis worldwide. The campaign has brought untold stories of refugees to light, who have not only reclaimed their lives in host nations around the world by finding avenues to utilise their talents and skills, but in doing so, are active contributors to the development process of these nations.

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “The campaign is addressing a burning issue, trying to change existing perceptions about refugees; and reminds us to address the way we look at them. One should never forget that a refugee is someone who has been forced to abandon their home and flee their country. These are people with education and skills, that can tremendously benefit host communities. Not only that, their first-hand experiences in building lives in foreign lands are valuable lessons for us as we try to device the most appropriate solutions for the refugee problem.”

She added: “TBHF’s projects in the Middle East and around the world have highlighted several success stories of refugees who lost everything, but hope. These stories make some of the worthiest materials to be shared with the world on social media. They are a powerful example of the human spirit, and will uplift and empower every life it touches – be it of an individual stuck in crisis or one living a peaceful life.”

#NotANumber features inspiring success stories of refugees who live and work in Lebanon, Germany and Malaysia. In these personal accounts, one sees the pride and confidence of these strong individuals whom giving up on their dignity or their hope for a secure and a stable future.