Celebrities use their fame (and fortune) to make a difference off screen by bringing awareness to charitable causes
Glowing in gowns with her baby bump, Keira Knightley still hasn’t stopped her charitable efforts. Apparently, The Imitation Game actor was so inspired by her visit to a refugee camp in South Sudan, she has called on the British public to support the people there. “I didn’t cry when I was there,” she says, emotionally adding, “What bloody right would I have to cry when the people I met, who were living in as near to hell as I can imagine, weren’t crying?” She then urged people to join in Oxfam’s fight as their resources are slowly running out. “Give. Give. Give. Please. The unfolding catastrophe is so much bigger than any one actress can solve,” Knightley requested. Considered to be ‘doing an Angelina Jolie’, the humble actor was flattered by it but said that while Jolie was on the world stage, she herself is “always happy to help in any small way” she can.
Ed Sheeran’s campaign for homelessness gathered force in October last year, when he was inspired to do more. “Homelessness is a horrifying experience and no one should have to go through it. We need to demand change so that every homeless person can get the help they need,” shares the Grammy-nominated singer, adding that while he himself was never homeless, his song Homeless addresses the condition. Since then, Sheeran has been dropping into Crisis’ Skylight Centres in England to host song-writing classes. He has also signed on a 14,000-strong petition for the No One Turned Away campaign, calling on the government to help the homeless find somewhere to live.
Chris Pratt and Chris Evans showed that like their on-screen characters Star-Lord and Captain America, they too are heroes. Evans, a New England Patriots fan, and Pratt, a Seattle Seahawks fan, wagered on who would win the Super Bowl this February. They promised to either visit the children of Christopher’s Haven in Boston (Evans’ charity), or those at Seattle Children’s Hospital (Pratt’s pick). So when the Seahawks were defeated, Pratt wore a Tom Brady New England jersey, and visited the hospital, donating the $27,000 they raised since they made the pact. Two weeks ago, Evans and Pratt also visited the Seattle hospital with generous donations. They took it up a notch by showing up in superhero costume when visiting their choice of charity. And with Captain America and Star-Lord present, we can safely say that the Guardians of Humanity are here.
After battling drug addiction for the most part of his life, comedian and actor Russell Brand has opened a cafe in east London for recovering addicts. Part of his vision for a chain of self-supporting non-profit social enterprises, the 39-year-old activist calls it the Trew Era café and it is set on the spot in Hoxton where he campaigned against rent increases, last December. At the launch, he announced, “This cafe is going to be run by people in abstinence-based recovery. It’s a model that’s not for profit, a fully self-supporting economic enterprise.” Hoping it will ‘one day have its own currency’, Brand reveals that he plans to start more soon. “We will start more of these social enterprises. Eventually we will trade with one another in our own currency. We’re going to create our own systems, our own federations, our own currencies, our own authorities,” he foresees.
On ground fight
While others may have spoken about the cause from a distance, Orlando Bloom was the first, and only, high-profile celebrity to actually fight in person. Called ‘brave’ by the people he worked with in Sierra Leone, he spent over four days meeting children and making sure their schools were re-opened in the safest conditions. Last week, the UNICEF ambassador shared the official video of his efforts to eradicate the epidemic. The clip sees Bloom meeting with Ansu Anderson Turay (and his six-year-old son, Abraham), who lost his wife, two sons and two daughters to Ebola. “It’s quite hard to comprehend such a loss. They’re all just dealing with loss like that at such a profound level,” he stated.