‘FilmAid’Charity Joins Tsū Social Network & Helps Syrian Refugees

Syrian’s civil war is one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our time. Nearly 12 million innocent civilians have been displaced thus far — escalating impact on neighboring countries such as Jordan.

In March 2014, the charity FilmAid International (based in NYC) traveled to Jordan's Za'atari Refugee Camp, close to the Syrian border, to host a screening of the Palm d'Or-winning film, Le Ballon Rouge (The RedBalloon) to an audience of Syrian refugees. FilmAid is now back in Jordan one year later to conduct a Mobile Cinema Screening series within rural and urban areas of Jordan.

This 3.5 minute video provides an excellent overview as to what has been done for the Kenya refugees during their time of crisis.

Meryl FrankMeryl FrankNow stepping up the Syrian crisis, I spoke to FilmAid’s executive director, Meryl Frank  today to find out how they’re aiding these refugees as they continue to relocate to Jordan. And why they selected one social network over others to assist them in this endeavor -- named Tsu.

1. How did you learn of Tsu and what factors motivated you to join?

Frank: Our Executive Assistant, Alanna Jamner, here at FilmAid International is an expert in social media. She found Tsu and brought it to my attention. We joined Tsu immediately because it was simple and it made sense to join as a charity, not only as a way to get our own branding and messaging out, but also to increase potential for fundraising.

2. Have you found any other social networks like Tsu that places an emphasis on charitable giving? Which ones and have they helped in your fundraising efforts?

Frank: While there are other social networks for charitable giving, they are much more labor intensive and I am not sure that the reach is as far. For example, we have only been on Tsu for only 3 weeks and already have over 69,165 follows and over 150+ individual microdonations currently totally $259.18. It is amazing to see how quickly our posts are able to reach people.  (Note: Tsu is a new type of social platform that due to its unique monetization model pays its users royalties for their original content. This allows them in turn to make donations to charities, such as FilmAid seamlessly without leaving the network. More importantly, this also allows for microdations as low as $1 from donors who may have never been in a position to donate to a charity like FilmAid previously.)

3. Do you have any fundraising ideas planned for the Tsu network?

Frank: We are very new to Tsu, so we are following it very carefully. We want to create new ways to gain attention and to spread the word about FilmAid. Currently, we are planning to do a fundraiser for the Syrian refugees in Jordan and another fundraiser around the holidays this winter.

4- With the Syrian crisis escalating, how will FilmAid International be helping the refugees? Are there any specific initiatives in place that you can speak to in this regard?

Frank: For the past 15 years, FilmAid International has used film and the media as tools to respond to refugee crises around the globe. In response to the refugee crisis in Syria, FilmAid started working in Jordan with Syrian refugees in March 2014.  This year, FilmAid will expand our crucial programming for Syrian refugees in Jordan who are struggling through one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.

FilmAid is actively building partnerships and rallying donors to expand our programming and support the implementation of a large-scale, long-term program in Jordan, where currently over 672,000 refugees have fled for safety. FilmAid is committed to supporting Syrian refugees who have been forcibly displaced by civil war by providing critical information, skills development, and psychological relief.

FilmAid is a humanitarian and development organization that empowers refugees and other marginalized populations with life-saving information, skill-building opportunities, and psychological relief, all through the power of film and media. We train refugees and their host community neighbors in media development skills to tell their own stories in their own voices and to produce media about important and often life-saving issues. Through our comprehensive, community-driven training in the production of the media, FilmAid participants are able to positively impact their own communities' health, protection, and environment.

Their films are shown at mass screenings reaching thousands of people. These methods have been studied and are proven to be a tremendously effective method of communication, particularly in times of crisis. The majority of FilmAid staff is part of the refugees or host community, themselves. FilmAid currently works in Kenya, the Thai/Burma border, and is expanding to Jordan, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia in the next year.

Tsu, the Social Network that Cares . . .

Tsu is a social network launched last October, and in less than eight months has grown exponentially to almost 4 million users. Founded by entrepreneur Sebastian Sobczak, his vision was not only to shake up the existing social networking business model, but also to create a paradigm shift as to how to use a social network for the better good. FilmAid is an excellent example how well that symbiotic relationship works.

You can join Tsu here and you can donate to FilmAid here.

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