Canva Launches #DesignForACause to Support UNHCR’s refugee education program  

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People who believe in creativity know that design can make a difference, whether it’s for a school report, a client presentation, or even a personal post on social media. Design platform Canva, which offers tools for eye-catching graphics through its awesome suite of features, is encouraging everyone to get creative for a good cause.

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Canva has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to launch #DesignForACause — an initiative that encourages creators from around the world, to submit drawings of one thing that makes them smile.

Mariam (44) and her six children – Mohammad (28), Zakeyeh (19), Aya (18), Noha (13), Ali (11) and Wa’ed (5) – were forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria in 2012. Ongoing violence and airstrikes destroyed their neighborhood and gravely injured Mohammad, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The family lives in a small apartment in the city of Irbid, in northern Jordan. The family depends on monthly cash assistance from UNHCR to meet their basic needs including rent, food and other essentials.
Jordan is one of the countries most affected by the Syria crisis, hosting the second highest share of refugees pro capita in the world. Over 80% of Syrian refugees in Jordan live in urban areas. ; Jordan is one of the countries most affected by the Syria crisis, hosting the second highest share of refugees pro capita in the world. Over 80% of Syrian refugees in Jordan live in urban areas.

Mathematics subject teaching to class one.
Hormud Primary School is located in Ifo camp of Dadaab where 2,044 refugee students currently studying. 744 of the student are girls. In 2015, all 56 students who have participated in Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE) exam, made it to the secondary schools.
The five camps of Dadaab have a total of 35 pre-school centers, 35 primary schools, seven secondary schools, four vocational learning centers known as Youth Education Packs, three adult literacy centers and three libraries. UNHCR and its education partner agencies working together supporting the schools and other education centers to make sure that children and youth in the camps have access to learning.
Refugee community see education as the most valuable aspect of their camp life and the only hope for a prosper future of their children. They believe that education can change their lives and they can play an important role in the development of their country once they return.
To increase access to education and ensure quality learning, there is a huge demand for additional schools, and more qualified teachers to accommodate all learners.
The schools in Dadaab are not like the ones in modern cities. Most of the school buildings are old and in most cases classes are congested and the students have to share their textbooks. However, despite the challenges and gaps, one can witness passion and love for education among the refugee children. ; Dadaab is home to 343,884 refugees. We work with education partners to run the schools and ensure children get quality education. Altogether there are 35 pre-school centers, 35 primary schools, 7 secondary schools, 4 vocational learning centers, 3 adult literacy centers and 3 libraries! We also support the teachers, providing training in pupil-centered teaching methods which helps students’ participation in the learning process.

7-year-old Alikeli fled his country of Burundi with his parents Jacqueline and Jospeh, and found safety and shelter in Nduta refugee camp, Kibondo, Tanzania. His mother was pregnant with his baby brother Dani when they fled.
The family arrived in Tanzania on 28 June 2015 and after nearly 4 months in a mass shelter in Nyarugusu camp were transferred to Nduta camp at the end of November 2015 and allocated a UNHCR family shelter. ; In February, Nduta refugee camp, Kibondo Region of Tanzania was host to some 43,000 refugees from Burundi, with capacity to shelter 55,000 people. Around 200 Burundi refugees arrived at the camp every day, fleeing the violence that escalated in May 2015.
UNHCR has built emergency family shelters using wooden poles sustainably sourced from the local forests. Each family shelter has a veranda overhang to provide some outdoor shelter and storage space for firewood. Over the coming months the shelters will be upgraded using more transitional materials to provide a safer, warmer living environment.

Canva will select 200 winning designs and convert them into Canva elements for sale. When the digital elements are purchased by any of Canva’s users (for $1USD), this will be donated to UNHCRs refugee education projects around the world.

With many Filipinos spending most of their time at home, Canva and UNHCR are inspiring people to get in-touch with their creative side, and empower at-risk children. The raised funds will help to enroll refugee children into quality, primary education across 14 countries, as part of its Refugee Education Program.

To join, here are three simple steps on the Canva website under Design for a Cause:

  1. Draw anything that makes you smile, on any medium.
  2. Upload your image by taking a photo or scanning your drawing and saving it as a PDF or JPEG.
  3. Submit your details using the online form. Drawings by children under the age of 13 will need to be submitted by their parents or guardians. If the child’s drawing is selected, the parent/legal guardian will be contacted for permission to share the child’s name as a winner.

Maisie Littaua, Head of Growth for Canva Philippines says, “Filipinos are innately creative and we’re known to have the value of malasakit in our DNA. With #DesignForACause, your creativity has the power to help school-age refugee children receive an education – which is something that every child deserves. We believe that this simple act of designing can go a long way in making a difference to the lives of the children, who hold the key to the future.”

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Ben Stiller says, “Design for a Cause invites people to be creative while showing their support for refugee children and helping them access education. Working together we can make a difference and aim to put smiles on the faces of refugee youth around the world.”

Ben Stiller Campaign Video:


Entries for this campaign for a cause can be submitted through until December 8, 2020.

For more information about Canva, visit

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