Choir of survivors from conflict areas supports CERF

This December, 32 young women stood in the heart of New York’s holiday festivities and performed a new take on the holiday classic, “Silent Night.” As people gathered for the performance in front of the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, they realized that the words to the familiar song had been changed with lyrics describing the pain and fear of those trapped in conflict areas around the world, and the hope and relief that can be provided by humanitarian aid.

“This is not your typical Silent Night,” said Nyawal, 23, a South Sudanese refugee who sings in the choir. “This is a version of a holiday carol that tells the story of people like us.”

The women are no strangers to suffering themselves, as each of them is a from a conflict area – ranging from Iraq to Sudan. The words they sing are helping to build awareness of conflict around the world and drive donations to the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which helps people caught up in crises.

“Every year, millions of people around the world are struck by crises not of their own making,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock. “This song shines a light on their experiences, and emphasizes how humanitarian aid can make a difference. CERF is one of the fastest ways to support people in need whenever and wherever a crisis strikes. Each donation helps CERF prepare for the crises yet to come.”

The performance has been turned into a docu-style video now available on social media until 7 January 2017, with the goal of raising funds for CERF. Please visit the UN CERF Facebook page or to support this effort.