Los Angeles, California — Charlize Theron is an actress well-known for her roles in movies such as “Monster” and “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Despite her seemingly-glamorous life, Theron had a difficult childhood. She was born in Benoni, South Africa, a city just east of Johannesburg where she grew up during Apartheid. Her father was an abusive, alcoholic. She over had to overcome her fair share of adversity in her youth. Theron has used her success to help others. Now, Charlize Theron’s COVID-19 relief efforts are helping women and children escape domestic abuse.
At age 12, she began studying dance at a boarding school in Johannesburg. At 16, she entered and won a modeling contest. She traveled to Italy to start a modeling career, and then to New York to pursue ballet. After an injury, Theron left her ballet career for acting. First with small roles, and later, starring in Oscar and Golden-Globe-winning movie “Monster”, she has then established her presence as a successful actress in Hollywood.
The Charlize Theron African Outreach Project
Inspired to help those back at home, Theron created a charity organization, The Charlize Theron African Outreach Project, in 2007. As a United Nations Messenger of Peace, Theron aims to protect youth in sub-Saharan Africa, especially South Africa, from contracting and spreading HIV/AIDS. In South Africa alone, there are almost 4,600 new diagnoses of HIV each week.
The Charlize Theron African Outreach Project partners with 12 community-based organizations in Africa such as Brave United, Life Choices and HIVSA. All of these organizations work with children and adolescents to address social factors that drive the spread of HIV/AIDS. They provide services to access “reproductive health education, access to adolescent-friendly health services, psychosocial support and peer counseling.”
The organization works with those aged 10-20, advocating for policies that support community-based organizations and the rights of youth populations in terms of HIV prevention. It also pushes to spread awareness of AIDS. In 2019, the foundation reached 347,835 youths. It educated 46,160 on sexual and reproductive health and HIV, provided support and counseling to 8,740 and provided 9,820 with clinical health services.
Charlize Theron’s COVID-19 Relief Efforts
As the world went into lockdown, children and women forced indoors became more prone to violence and domestic abuse, a situation reminiscent of her childhood. As a result of the increase in domestic abuse with COVID-19, Theron partnered with CARE and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). They launched Together for Her, a campaign that aims to support global efforts against domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides resources against domestic violence.
Charlize Theron’s COVID-19 relief efforts include her organization. The Charlize Theron African Outreach Project pledged to donate $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, $500,000 of which will specifically be allocated to programs in Together for Her. This donation will be used in the United States and Theron’s home country of South Africa. These organizations are leading the effort in supporting women and girls at risk of gender-based abuse.
Charlize named 50 female celebrities who had joined in her effort to push back against domestic violence during COVID-19. Notable supporters of Charlize Theron’s COVID-19 relief efforts and the Together for Her campaign include Amy Schumer, Anne Hathaway, Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Michelle Pfieffer, Natalie Portman and Stella McCartney.
– Mizuki Kai