Volunteering abroad is not only for students on gap year, these celebrities show how important it is to volunteer for community development and to make a difference.
Celebrities attract a lot of media attention and are hence in a position to focus the world’s eyes on the needs of the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised. They have access to those with the power to effect change and can use their status to fundraise significant amounts of money and attention to a worthy cause.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie is a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and has visited more than 20 countries since 2001. Brad Pitt is one of the founders of Not On Our Watch, an organization that tries to focus global attention and resources to stop and prevent genocide such as that in Darfur. In 2006 Angelina and Brad set up the Jolie-Pitt Foundation which has donated large sums of money to conservation groups, Doctors without Borders, and many others.
George Clooney has long been involved with Sudan as an activist and set up the non-profit Not On Our Watch, which he co-founded with Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman and Jerry Weintraub. He has travelled extensively in Sudan and was made a UN Messenger of Peace in 2008 to promote the organization’s peacekeeping activities around the world.
Singer Bono has a long history as a celebrity philanthropist. He founded DATA in 2002 which merged into ONE in 2008. The organization was created for the purpose of obtaining equality and justice for Africa through debt relief, adjusting trade rules which burden Africa, eliminating the African AIDS epidemic, strengthening democracy, more accountability by the wealthiest nations and African leaders and transparency towards the people.
Actor Matt Damon is co-founder of Water.org, an organization dedicated to creating accessible and safe water supplies in developing countries. The organization has brought clean water to more than 300,000 families since its inception. Matt Damon travels to Africa regularly, raising awareness and visiting projects.
Actor Ben Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative that works with local communities and organizations to support victims of sexual violence, vulnerable children, community-based peace and reconciliation, improved health care access, and economic opportunity promotion.