A YouTuber turned charity fundraiser has raised over $1m in a day to help the Rohingya people fleeing persecution in Burma.
Jerome Jarre first found fame with six-second videos on Vine and Snapchat, on which he had over seven million followers. His upbeat, nothing-is-impossible attitude is a big draw to viewers who have grown up watching his antics.
Lately, Jarre has turned his 1.6m Twitter followers onto a new kind of viral venture: fundraising and humanitarian action.
His latest campaign is to help the Rohingya people, 620,000 of whom have been forced to flee Burma to Bangladesh following violence, looting and burning. The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has called the treatment of the Rohingya “a textbook example” of ethnic cleansing.
On a crowdfunding page, called Love Army For Rohingya, set up on Tuesday, Jarre writes: “The government of Bangladesh is overwhelmed by the refugee crisis.
“The refugees arrive having eaten little if anything in days, and with just the clothes on their backs. Children are especially vulnerable to human trafficking, servitude, and abuse, as many have become separated from their families.
“Once they arrive in the tent cities (without any sanitation), the daily struggle continues to access clean water and food.”
According to the campaign’s GoFundMe page, 100% of donations will go to providing food, clean drinking water and other supplies.
As well as raising money, Jarre and the Love Army team are asking people to tweet using the hashtag #LoveArmyForRohingya and ask their followers and public figures to lend their voices to the plight of the Rohingya.
Earlier this year Jarre set up the Love Army For Somalia campaign to help those affected by drought, and invited his followers to see the fundraising and giving process in its entirety, including the bits that went wrong.
For example, once the team had bought food and persuaded Turkish Airlines to donate a plane to take it to Somalia, locals suggested that buying the food and water locally would be a boost for the economy.
So Jarre and the Love Army team, including YouTube star Casey Neistat, continually changed tack, learning from being on the ground.
Speaking about the #LoveArmy model for fundraising at the One Young World Conference in Bogota, Colombia in October, Jarre said it is all about unconditional giving.
“We don’t want to become a big humanitarian organisation, there is enough of that,” he said.
“We want unconditional gifts… We can give our time, we can give our creativity, we can give our voice, we can give our heart, we can give our talent.”