Angelina Jolie was born on June 4, 1975 in Los Angeles, CA. She is an award winning actress and activist who has been in the industry for more than a decade. She is one of two children born to actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. Jolie has appeared in many films such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Salt, Maleficent and many more. She began her humanitarian work at age 25, she is currently 41 years old and she still focuses on refugee issues today.
UNHCR has been around since the 1950's and is still active til this day. They provide necessary help for refugees that were forced to leave their homes.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established in the 1950's. Their overall goal is to provide care for those who were forced to flee their homes due to persecution of war. They have helped over 20 million women, men and children during the time of their establishment. UNHCR hopes to allow refugees to find safety in another state while at some point being able to potentially return to their homes, integrate or resettle. They provide essentials such as food, water, shelter, healthcare, sanitation and transportation for the refugees. In 2001, Jolie was named a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR.
Angelina Jolie published her book Notes From My Travels when she returned from her trips with UNHCR. The book shares the thoughts and experiences Jolie witnessed while educating herself on the lives of refugees.
From February 22, 2001 to June 6, 2002 Angelina Jolie visited Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador. During this period, she met with many families who experienced loss, disease and horrific amounts of trauma. After her first visit to Cambodia, she adopted her first child. As a way of self expression she jotted down notes from her experiences and described the different aspects of her trip. After returning, she published a book in 2003 called Notes From My Travels where she shared those thoughts she previously took.
In West Africa, Jolie visited the country of Sierra Leone while taking trips to Freetown (the capital) as well as Bo and Kenema to visit refugee camps.
While in Cambodia, Angelina visited Battambang where she visited a hospital and saw many victims suffering with amputated limbs.
While in Pakistan, Jolie visited Islamabad and Quetta, as well as visited Afghanistan before hand.
In Ecuador, Jolie visited the city of Ibarra as well as Quito (the capital).
Illness is a major obstacle that takes place in these places. Children as young as infants caught diseases such as malaria and worms, many die because of these causes. "Malaria is very common in this area, its almost impossible to avoid." (Jolie, 67). She states the unfortunate complications of a young infant "The baby had lost 200 grams. He has diarrhea and he also might have worms" (Jolie, 67). Worms also known as Dracunculiasis is the Guinea (city in Africa) worm disease which is extremely rare and is caused by a parasite infection.
Jolie visiting children while on her trip with UNHCR
(Please watch from 2:45-4:02) The video above displays an interview with Angelina Jolie as she reflects on her time traveling with UNHCR. She talks about how her perspective shifted for the better after her trip. She says that instead of dreaming for herself, she began to dream for others, she finds it as a more effective way to live her life.
Angelina Jolie met many families and many children who experienced loss. Loss such as losing family members and as losing limbs. She describes the sight of how in one specific camp she visited in Bo and Kenema (in Africa) where there were 400 amputees. While visting Ecuador in 2002, she talked to a man who had bullet wounds in his stomach and witnessed his wife and kids shot right in front of him. He wasn't able to speak much due to the recollection of the event.
Many refugees are forced to flee from their homes due to violent threats and attacks being made against them. Groups such as the Taliban who are present in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their violent tactics had millions of refugees leave everything behind and have to protect themselves within living in a refugee camp. Many refugees when asked told Jolie that they wish to be able to return back to their homes, but they cannot.
Above is a video of Angelina Jolie speaking on behalf of the refugees that are currently suffering today and wants everyone to contribute to help end the Syrian conflict. She displays passion and commitment when discussing these issues. She has stated that she will be dedicating herself to these issues until the day she dies.
Above is an image of a public school in Africa. Many children are unable to go to school due to the lack of available room for the amount of kids that would like to attend.
Along with the refugees lacking proper healthcare, protection, survival and a healthy living environment, children lack an education. Many children cannot obtain an education due to the short staff of there only being one teacher present to teach many children at one time. "The school director tells me that this school serves two villages totaling 1,290 people. There are 590 children between six and ten years old, but there is only room for 370 students. Two hundred and twenty children are not able to go because there just isn't enough room"(Jolie, 101). The school also lacks essential plumbing as well "The school has many more needs. It has no latrines (toilet) and only one well. The well is very old and they worry about it not being safe for the children"(Jolie, 101). Within the lack of these needs, they are risking the lives of children's safety in an academic environment.
(Please watch from 1:04-2:44) This is a clip of Angelina Jolie visiting Haiti and it displays a good visual aspect within how she interacts with the people themselves.
Jolie stated that after she returned from her trip that she completely changed her perspective and view on life. She wants America as a whole to be aware of these circumstances and wants everyone to contribute donations and provide support for these refugees. She hopes more people will feel inspired to want to join and be a part of making a greater change and solving issues for those in need.
In conclusion, Angelina Jolie is a catalyst for change because she demonstrates the mentality and passion to want to make a change for the benefit of others. She has displayed the leadership characteristics of an individual where she has created organizations to fund money for those in need. Jolie has taken the necessary steps to make an overall change and allow the refugees to return home. These inspiring trips have shaped her perspective on life and to no longer take things for granted, but rather be grateful. She as well is educating herself on the cause itself and recommends that others do the same too. As her being a Hollywood public figure, instead of her just being considered a "celebrity" she takes initiative to bring awareness to large world issues and help make a change.