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Angelina Jolie is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR and has traveled to over 14 different countries in her bid to her assist refugees. “Part of my job as goodwill ambassador is to draw attention to the many hidden refugee emergencies, and human tragedies that you will not find in the headlines. Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned. Statistics tell only part of the story. Behind the figures are families struggling to survive on minimal assistance”, says Angelina.
When there are so many issues in the world today that need addressing, the deciding factor for Angelina to work with refuges was “having spent time with refugee families. They continue to inspire and teach me. They are amazing survivors.”
Each trip to a site faces new challenges, dangers and lengths of stay. “Sometimes it is just a day and sometimes it’s two weeks”, says Angelina. Asides from helping with the missions hands on, Angelina also voices vital information about refugees to the media and donates large sums of money to sites where they use it to build schools, homes and wildlife parks and to purchase food, water and medicine.
One of the major factors that concerns Angelina is the lack of information about refugees. “A lot of people hold negative views about refugees without bothering to know the facts. It seems that increasingly, in some countries, being tough with refugees and asylum seekers has become part of the political game. In some places it’s an election issue and in all the noise the refugee situation becomes distorted, and those of us trying to talk about the realities are drowned out”, says Angelina.
Angelina is involved physically and emotionally on every mission she attends to and is well educated on the dilemma facing refugees today. “Without political solutions, on some level, the problems that created refugees like persecution and war continue to rage. Even if military intervention makes a difference in some situations, it still has to be followed up with a political solution.
Some element of political change and agreement is always required, at whatever level – community, state, international – before refugees can feel safe to go home or other solutions can be found. But other refugee problems, like negative stereotyping, hatred and violence can be fought by spreading awareness.”
Change and improvement can be timely but in the immediate future Angelina hopes that through her efforts as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR, that she has brought awareness to this issue. “I hope it has brought more awareness. That’s all I can hope for. I know what it’s done for me, but I hope it has brought more awareness. I feel it has because people tend to ask me questions, and I have received a lot of letters from young people talking about the things they are doing to make a difference. And that’s been a very nice thing because I didn’t get letters like that before.”
It is inspiring, educational and fulfilling to learn about the causes that Angelina supports and at Team Jolie we strive to bring you up to date information in her efforts and to chart her history working in charity.