UNHCR Partners with Syrian Cartoonist to help Afghanistan through NFT charity sales

UNHCR has partnered with Syrian-Palestinian artist Hani Abbas to launch a charity NFT sale for Afghan refugees.
Windows – Genesis #1 NFT by the artist

Key Takeaways

  • UNHCR has partnered with Syrian-Palestinian artist to auction NFTs for Afghanistan
  • The refugee artist has volunteered to allow his paintings to be auctioned off to help war-effected people
  • NFTs are increasingly being used to raise money for various non-profits

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) — To mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the 1971 Refugee Convention, Switzerland for UNHCR has teamed up with cartoonist Hani Abbas to launch its first-ever NFT collection. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees plans to use the proceeds from the sale to support the people of Afghanistan after the latest Taliban takeover of the country’s Government.

The NFT set is titled “Windows” and includes 70 unique digital art collectibles by the artist. There are 7 original artworks with 10 variations of each that depict a heartbreaking picture of a war-torn country and the shattered dreams of little children.

The auction is live on the largest NFT platform OpenSea. The price of each digital art ranges from 0.1 ETH (around $480) to 0.7 ETH (around $3,368) at the time of writing.

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Hani Abbas is the ideal NFT artist for the job

When it comes to making NFTs for a charity that helps victims of war, Abbas is the ideal artist for the job.

Hani Abbas was born and raised in Yarmouk, Syria, in a Palestinian refugee camp. As a result of the war in Syria, he and his family left everything behind and found refuge in Switzerland. 

UNHCR has partnered with Syrian-Palestinian artist Hani Abbas to launch a charity NFT sale for Afghan refugees.
Some of the NFT works from ‘Window’ by the artist. Credit: OpenSea

Hani Abbas’s works deal with topics from his personal experiences. According to UNHCR, his artworks depict injustice, loss, and the human cost of war. 

Abbas has appeared in publications such as Le Temps et La Liberté in Switzerland and Le Monde in France. He is also a member of Cartooning for Peace, an international network of press cartoonists working for freedom and democracy. In 2014, Abbas received the International Editorial Cartooning Award in Geneva from Kofi Annan.

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Helping charities through NFT 

As the global pandemic hit and non-profits across the globe found themselves unable to organize fundraisers, blockchain technologies stepped up to help. Many organizations pivoted and began accepting crypto donations. Other platforms engineered the idea to use the fast-growing NFT industry to help their favorite charities.

Catching on the trend, NFTs soon became viable alternatives to fundraisers. They allowed organizations, celebrities, and individuals to create digital tokens and auction them off, with all the profits directly going to a charity of their choice. 

For example, tech entrepreneur and TRON founder Justin Sun bought an NFT for $6 million. The artist (Beeple) donated the proceeds to the Open Earth Foundation to combat climate change.

The NFT version of Twitter’s first published tweet by co-founder Jack Dorsey sold for $2.9 million in March this year. He donated $2,915,835.47 from the sale to GiveDirectly, which sends cash to low-income families in Africa impacted by Covid-19.

Other celebrities including television show host Ellen DeGenerous and Brazilian football legend Pelé have also auctioned of NFTs for charity.

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Fundraising by NFT platforms is trendy

As recently as August, Art Blocks raised $23.5 million for charity. A total of 25 artists on the platform agreed to donate between 10% and 25% of their proceeds to charities. 

One of the projects, Geometry Runners, donated over $3.4 million in August alone, becoming the largest donor on the platform.

Meanwhile, Hani Abbas could not have predicted that he would enter the world of NFTs someday. 

“I don’t have any experience of this – I just do the drawings! But every cartoonist wants their work to be seen, and I support these new ideas. Anything that will help people and explain the hard conditions and problems they face, and allow other people to support them. It’s a new idea, and when I heard about it, I loved it,” 

he told UNHCR.

However, so far only 3 NFTs from the collection have found takers. Given the important cause which the auction wants to support, hopefully, there will be more takers in the days to come. 

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