“We cannot close ourselves off to information and ignore the fact that millions of people are out there suffering. I honestly want to help. I don’t believe I feel differently from other people. I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation someone would help us.”-Angelina Jolie on her motives for joining UNHCR in 2001
She is smoldering hot, she is the highest paid female actress in the world, she is married to one of the most handsome and successful man in Hollywood, she has a palatial house, 6 kids, all in all a perfect life that anybody else can only afford to dream .Why then she feels the need to look beyond the world of glitter and glamour? Why then she ditches the red carpet once in a while to help those who don’t even have a sheet to sleep on?
Angelina Jolie had a rough childhood. At the beginning of her career she had a wild and abstruse persona. From kissing her brother at a public event to wearing blood on her white T-shirt on her own wedding day, she did it all. But time passes, people get matured and very few realize their responsibility and feel for the needy like her.
While shooting for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) she for the very first time experienced the effects of humanitarian crisis in a war-torn Cambodia .On returning home, she contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for information on international trouble spots .Going around the place, taking field trips to Sierra Leone and Tanzania, made her realize the extent of turmoil and unrest. A humongous star with a humongous heart, she donated $1 million in response to an international UNHCR emergency appeal. Following this she was named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on August 27, 2001.
Next year she met with refugees and internally-displaced people. In 2002, when asked what she hoped to accomplish, she stated, “Awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon. “Leaving behind the pleasure of untold riches she traveled to such war zones as Sudan’s Darfur region during the Darfur conflict ,the Syrian-Iraqi border during the Second Gulf War, getting acquainted with the military troops and forces and their experience of the exigencies of war and brigands.
In a heartfelt effort to connect her Cambodia-born son to his heritage, Jolie bought a house in his country of birth in 2003. In 2006 she expanded the scope of the project, renamed the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Project (MJP)to create Asia’s first Millennium Village, in accordance with UN development goals. The compound includes schools, roads, and a soy milk factory, all funded by Jolie. Her home functions as the MJP field headquarters.
Apart from her MJP project ,she has opened up health care centers for HIV-positive children in Cambodia and Ethiopia .Building schools having boarding facilities at refugee camps of Kenya and at politically disturbed places of Afghanistan has been a decision well-thought and appreciative.
Jolie began involving herself in promoting humanitarian causes at a political level from 2003. Her initiatives involved child and women protection efforts, pushing for legislation to aid child refugees and other vulnerable children in both developing nations and the U.S. ,and fronting an international campaign against sexual violence in military conflict zones. Jolie Legal Fellowship is an institution which assisted the government in providing legal protection to the children affected from the Haiti-earthquake in 2010.
In 2013, she spoke at a G8 foreign ministers meeting, where ministers pledged $36 million in funding to go toward developing international standards for the investigation and prosecution of war rape ,and before the UN security council ,the UN’s most powerful body ,which responded by adopting its broadest resolution on the issue to date.
“I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”—Jolie on her reasons for speaking out about her mastectomy. On realizing that she has 87% risk of breast cancer due to a defective BRCA1 gene ,she underwent a double mastectomy at the age of 37. In all probability it was because her mother and maternal grandmother had breast cancer and such BRCA mutation therefore is hereditary. Initially she was private about her surgery but later on she published an op-ed titled “My Medical Choice” in The New York Times with an aim to spread awareness amongst women to make informed health choices. This step was well received by the common masses and public figures alike.
Popularizing wrong habits like stylistic smoking and use of drugs is not something which is cool .Sometimes when you have power to reach out to people, when you know that they would listen to you, why not make an effort to spread a message of national importance, human benefit. Be magnanimous and not megalomaniac, for those who enjoy swimming in the sea of fame and wealth forget that half of the world’s population is devoid of safe drinking water.” Visit those who are sick, or who are in trouble, especially those whom God has made needy by age, or by other sickness, as the feeble, the blind, and the lame who are in poverty. These you shall relieve with your goods after your power and after their need, for thus biddeth the Gospel”- John Wycliffe.