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Day-long phone-in aims to help stricken refugees

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Day-long phone-in aims to help stricken refugees
Refugees wait at the now closed border between Serbia and Hungary. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP
10:23 CEST+02:00
Switzerland launched a national day of solidarity with refugees on Tuesday which aims to collect donations for displaced Syrians through a celebrity-endorsed telephone appeal.

Organized by foundation La Chaîne de Bonheur, which collects funds on behalf of 25 partner charities, in collaboration with Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG, the telephone appeal lasts until midnight tonight.

To collect donations, some 300 volunteers and dozens of Swiss personalities are manning the phones in four SRG studios across the country.

Among them are former MP Ruth Dreifuss, Miss Switzerland Laetitia Guarino and comic Brigitte Rosset.

In addition to attracting individual donations, the appeal is supported by the Swiss Football League, which donated 500 francs per goal (a total of 13,000 francs) during Super and Challenge League matches held over the weekend.

Communications company Swisscom promises to give five francs for each photo sent to La Chaîne de Bonheur on social media using the hashtag #ShowSolidarity4Refugees.

Donations collected today will be given to Swiss non-profits helping refugees on route to Europe, particularly those currently stranded in Serbia, whose border with Hungary was formally closed on Tuesday morning with the completion of a fortified border fence.

The money will allow charities to “distribute food, medicine and clothes, to support welcome centres offering psychological support and legal advice to refugees, of whom a large part are children,” said La Chaîne de Bonheur.

Donations will also support Syrian refugees currently living in Libya, Jordan and Iraq.  

Previous to this appeal, the Swiss have already donated more than six million francs to support refugees, said La Chaîne de Bonheur.

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