Secretary-General Visits Refugee Camps in ChadIt’s not often we talk about world news or politics on Spin Sucks, but today is a little bit different.

Today I want to bring to light an issue that most of us will never have to deal with close to home. A worldwide problem most of us will never experience. A problem so big yet most of us will never know anyone who is affected by this such as, say, cancer.

It’s refugees.

People who have to leave their homes, sometimes forcibly, and have to leave things behind…including children.

“With smooth features and a calm way about him, Abdullah Omar, 25, comes across as someone accustomed to hard choices. But the decision to send his one-year-old daughter back to war-ravaged Somalia, because he could not afford to support her, was one of the hardest he and his wife Khadija have ever faced.

That was five months ago. “There is not a night that goes by when I don’t lie awake thinking about my baby and worrying about her,” Khadija told me here at the windswept Choucha transit camp just inside Tunisia.

For the young Somali couple, it was the most challenging in a series of ordeals that they have endured in the four years since they fled Somalia – from a 10-day truck journey with people smugglers across the Sahara to serving time in detention and being hounded by racist thugs in Tripoli.”

Think about that for a minute. Even if you don’t have kids, the idea that a sibling or a cousin or a niece or nephew can’t stay with his or her parents is heart-breaking.

The Statistics

There are more than 43 million people, worldwide, who are forcibly displaced from their homes because of conflict and persecution (according to UNHCR statistics).

Think about that. That is the combined population of New York and Texas. Imagine all of those people not having anywhere to live. Not being able to return to their homes. Trying to find refuge in your basement, at your church, in your alley.

Most of us would pass those people living on the streets and assume they’re homeless because of a drug or mental health problem. But nearly 300,000 refugees live in the United States and most of us have no idea who they are or how to help them.

These are human beings. People who have had to endure, and are surviving, something we can’t even fathom.

Get Your Blue Key.

That’s why there is a need for the Blue Key campaign, which allows each of us, with only $5, to show our support both for the 43 million refugees around the world and for UNHCR and their work.

The goal is for 6,000 Americans to have a Blue Key by June 20, which is World Refugee Day. You can support these efforts by getting your Blue Key pin or pendant for $5 and wearing it to show you are a part of a growing community of refugee advocates and champions.

If you can’t donate money and wear your Blue Key, you can still help!

  • Show your support by spreading the word on the social networks. You can share the USA for UNHCR Facebook page ( and tweet about their work and the campaign using the #bluekey hashtag.
  • Donate a tweet a day to USA for UNHCR to help raise awareness on Twitter by signing up at
  • If you blog, are active online and empathize with the cause, you can join the cause as a Champion. Let me know if you’re interested.

It’s not a problem that hits close to home for most of us. It’s not a hurricane or tornado or earthquake that requires immediate help. But these people need our help.

Donate $5. Wear your Blue Key. Show your support through the social networks. And, if you’d like to get more involved, leave a comment here and I’ll get you in touch with Shonali Burke (or contact her directly).

Photo courtesy of the U.N. Iridimi Camp, Chad. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.





Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich