These are some of the amazing organizations and charities and the celebrities helping them make an impact.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Star power: Angelina Jolie
Helping hands: The UNHCR is a UN agency that helps almost 20 million refugees in more than 120 countries around the world. Angelina’s involvement with UNHCR began with a mission to Sierra Leone, a small African country that – like the Democratic Republic of the Congo – has been devastated by years of brutal civil war. Seeing first-hand the enormous challenges that refugees face was a life-altering experience for Angelina, who decided to use her fame to aid their cause. In 2001, she was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. As a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina uses her status as a superstar to generate media coverage about the plight of refugees and the conditions under which they live. She has travelled widely to remote refugee camps and receiving centres in countries including Tanzania, Namibia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Ecuador. To further raise awareness, she has released her personal journals for select field visits that can be accessed at www.usaforunhcr.org.
YouthAIDS and Aldo
Star power: Avril Lavigne, Pink, Ludacris, Adrien Brody, Naomi Campbell, Brittany Murphy, Kelly Rowland
Helping hands: YouthAIDS is an HIV/AIDS education and healthy behaviour. The organization uses pop culture, music, theatre, and sports to reach 600 million young people in more than 60 countries.
Make a difference: You can get involved by organizing a YouthAIDS event in your community.
Children with AIDS Charity
Star power: Coldplay, John Travolta, J.K. Rowling, Donald Trump
Helping hands: Rebecca Mandel, who was infected by HIV through a blood transfusion during her second pregnancy, set up this UK-based charity. The charity works on promoting education and information about pediatric HIV/AIDS.
Make a difference: You can raise awareness through the Make a Child Smile campaign, which aims to remove the stigma that surrounds HIV. The charity collects signed auction items to raise funds and collects other essentials for kids and their families.
M.A.C. AIDS Fund
Star power: Pamela Anderson, Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott
Helping hands: Established in 1994 by M.A.C Cosmetics, the M.A.C AIDS Fund supports men, women, and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. Introducing its first VIVA GLAM lipstick that same year, M.A.C decided that every cent of the selling price of the VIVA GLAM lipsticks would go to the M.A.C AIDS Fund. M.A.C Cosmetics has provided over $65 million (US) to date for the M.A.C AIDS Fund.
Star voice: “M.A.C VIVA GLAM V is a great campaign to be involved with. I feel privileged and empowered to help raise funds and awareness of the importance of getting tested. Only then can you make informed and wise decisions for your health and life. Everyone, everywhere, has to get tested. Knowing helps stop spreading the disease that has no cure… yet.” — Pamela Anderson
Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair Campaign
Star power: Snow Patrol, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, Gael Garcia Barnal
Helping hands: Celebrities advocate fair trade laws through Oxfam, dedicated to finding lasting solutions to poverty, suffering, and injustice.
Make a difference: Look for fair trade labels on food, and pressure your local grocery to supply products that adequately compensate farmers for their crops.
Check out Oxfam.ca for more information.
To learn more or to get involved yourself, check out:
Unicef Canada has tons of information if you want to get involved through school, with the aid of your parents and teachers.
Stephen Lewis is the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa but his love and concern for Africa started way back in the 1960s when he was a teacher. He was also the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations in the 1980s. Now he travels extensively across Africa to bring attention to women and children ravaged by the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.
The Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS brings attention to HIV/AIDS causes worldwide.
Check out other stories in this series online at Faze:
Produced with the support of the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).