BARBERTON, Ohio — Amid the multiple crises currently impacting the world, actor Orlando Bloom’s humanitarian work provides hope. Since 2009, Bloom has served the role of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a title conferred in appreciation of his humanitarian efforts to uphold the rights of children globally.
In 2021, during World Immunization Week, Bloom engaged in a video call with UNICEF Jordan staff member Abed to discuss UNICEF’s work to supply COVID-19 vaccines to Jordanians and Syrian refugees within Jordan. Bloom had met Abed years earlier, in 2014, during another humanitarian trip where Bloom visited Jordan to bring awareness to the Syrian refugee crisis. During the video about the COVID-19 vaccines, Bloom gets information from Abed about who is eligible for vaccines, how UNICEF is rolling out these vaccines, the pandemic effects on children’s education in Jordan and the importance of receiving a vaccination. The video brings awareness to the COVID-19 support needs of Jordan, including the need for more vaccines.
COVID-19 Support Continues
Bloom joined forces with other UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors in June 2021 by publishing a letter to urge G7 leaders to commit more toward COVID-19-related aid. Just a few days before the G7 leader’s summit meeting, the letter highlighted that COVAX is facing significant vaccine shortfalls, reducing its capacity to adequately serve the needs of lower-income countries. The ambassadors asked the G7 leaders to cover the shortfall by donating 20% of their vaccines, equating to more than 150 million doses.
Some of the famous ambassadors participating in this call to action via the letter include David Beckham, Whoopi Goldberg and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Chopra Jonas, commenting on the pandemic’s effect in South Asia, said: “the crisis in India shows why we must act now to avoid further deadly mutations ravaging low-and middle-income nations around the world. UNICEF and its COVAX partners are ensuring vaccines and treatments [reach]the world’s most vulnerable populations, but cannot do it alone.”
More Recent Work
Even during the pandemic, Bloom gave his time to important humanitarian causes. In March 2022, the actor visited a UNICEF center in Moldova that serves as a temporary place of refuge for women and children crossing the Ukraine border in search of shelter amid the Russia-Ukraine war. UNICEF calls these centers “Blue Dots” and has established three in Moldova along the routes that refugees travel. The Blue Dot centers provide essential information to refugees, “help to identify unaccompanied and separated children and ensure their protection from exploitation” as well as other vital services and resources.
While visiting one of Moldova’s Blue Dot centers, Bloom met a woman who escaped Ukraine with “three young children” after Russian forces bombed her neighbor’s residence. Bloom said “it was heartbreaking” to see these families forced to leave their lives behind due to conflict and violence.
Bloom also traveled to the Moldexpo refugee center, which is among 100 others granting people a place of refuge. These centers also provide food, medical resources and legal/traveling information, among other essential services. UNICEF aims to establish more Blue Dot centers in refugee-hosting countries to safeguard children, especially against the growing risk of child exploitation. Bloom’s visit and continued advocacy on these issues raise awareness in order to garner support for UNICEF and partners.
In recognition of Bloom’s humanitarian work, in 2015, Bloom received the BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Britannia Humanitarian Award and the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award.
Even before becoming a UNICEF Ambassador in 2009, Bloom traveled with UNICEF to visit Nepal to see firsthand the far-reaching benefits of water and sanitation programs. He has also traveled to other impoverished countries, such as Bangladesh and Niger, in support of UNICEF’s efforts.
Bloom’s most recent efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war led to his latest award. On August 27, 2022, Bloom received the Humanitarian Award from the Location Managers Guild International. John Rakich, the LMGI president commended Bloom “in recognition of his incredible work with UNICEF and many other charities where he has consistently gone above and beyond as an active, engaged campaigner for real solutions to urgent global issues.” The LMGI awards are for professionals in film, television and commercials but Bloom received their specific Humanitarian Award for his work to help children globally.
Bloom’s humanitarian work prioritizes the well-being of vulnerable people across the world amid multiple crises. Thanks to his work prior to and during his UNICEF Ambassador role, communities in need are receiving the aid necessary to survive.
– Marynette Holmes