This blog, originally published in December 2019, has been updated for 2020.
Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday. One of these things is not like the others! While some days are focused on shopping and sales, #GivingTuesday instead reminds us of the more altruistic (and less commercial) elements of the holiday season. Social media messages using the hashtag inspire charitable giving and volunteering for people in their local communities and around the world.
Which led to me thinking about the power of social media to connect people to do good. This episode of Carmen Sandiego’s Fearless Kids Around the World introduced me to Bana Alabed, a Syrian refugee now living with her family in the neighboring country of Turkey. In the fall of 2016, Bana started using Twitter to broadcast the bombings in Aleppo. Access to information about the war in Syria was scarce throughout the rest of the world, but Bana's tweets shared a window into the devastated country. Soon, Bana's Twitter account and the messages she shared were being followed around the world to spread the news and also to inspire other people to help Syrian refugees.
Bana and her family were very lucky to be able to leave Syria and now live safely in Turkey, where Bana can finally attend school and receive an education. She continues to use social media to advocate for peace and talks about the importance of letting children’s voices be heard. Her experiences as a refugee helped her to realize that, "Everyone can make a difference. We must work together to end wars and bring peace."
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