November 18, 2013

#FamilyIs: Global Campaign on Google+ to Connect Separated Refugee Families

Thanksgiving is a time for family to be together. But not everyone is fortunate enough to be with their family.
    
This holiday season, Church World Service, Refugees United and the UN Refugee Agency will bring together families torn apart by war and disaster on Google+ via the free, multi-person broadcast video calling feature, Hangouts On Air.  In a series entitled ”Family Is,” family members in Kenya will be able to see the faces of family members resettled in the US who they haven’t been able to see in years and share their stories of escaping crisis.
 
The Hangouts On Air will be hosted and moderated by Ryot News and streamed live on November 19th, 25th, and 26th in the Family Is... Google+ community page and on the homepage of  Ryot News’ website.
 
“Google+ Hangouts provides a way for loved ones to connect over the holidays, no matter where they are or what circumstances they may be facing.” says Ramya Raghavan, Head of Politics and Causes at Google+.
 
According to UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced people has hit 45 million, and many have been separated from their loved ones during their escape from conflict. 
 
Participating families have all been reconnected by Refugees United, UNHCR, and Church World Service. They will share their heartbreaking stories, and tell viewers what family means to them.
 
Ida Jeng, Communication Manager of Refugees United, has witnessed several family reconnections, and each occasion is unique: “Everyone has the right to know where their family is. We are pleased to work with Google and partners on this global series, and leverage the transformative powers of new technology,” says Ida Jeng.
 
Representatives from CWS and UNHCR will participate in the series. People are encouraged to share their own stories on social media using the hashtag #FamilyIs.
 
The Hangouts will be streamed live at 10 AM Eastern Time on the 19, 25, and 26 of November.