SEATTLE — Actors create a platform of observation, whether it is with entertaining audiences with their movies or giving the world a glimpse into their humanitarian work. Tom Hiddleston is one of many actors who has partnered with UNICEF to better the lives of children. Hiddleston’s UNICEF humanitarian work began when he visited Guinea in 2013, where he observed the different kinds of aid the organization provides for malnourished children.
Hiddleston’s UNICEF Humanitarian Work Shines a Light on Conflict in South Sudan
Hiddleston’s UNICEF humanitarian work continued in December 2016 when he visited the young country of South Sudan. The country has been mired in an ongoing civil war since 2013, traumatically affecting the people residing there. Over the past five years, UNICEF has been aiding people affected by the conflict.
During Hiddleston’s visit to South Sudan, he saw the massive effect the civil war has had, including viewing the site where 89 children were taken from their school, most likely to be forced to join one of South Sudan’s armed groups. On a brighter note, Hiddleston also observed a reunification ceremony which included the discharge of more than 100 child soldiers, who were then able to be reunited with their families.
UNICEF Focuses on Helping Malnourished Chlidren in South Sudan
Hiddleston also discussed how an emergency feeding center has been helping the community. As he wrote in a blog post for UNICEF.org, “I spoke to a mother called Regina with her 15-month-old child, Emmanuela, who was suffering from severe malnutrition. Regina had been caught up in the fighting but managed to escape, traveling miles by foot to reach Wau Shilluk in the north east of the country. Eventually, they arrived at the treatment centre where Emmanuela received lifesaving treatment to bring her back from the brink.” UNICEF has ample resources to help these malnourished children, but with more than 270,000 children suffering from malnutrition, there is still more progress to be made.
In addition to the emergency feeding center, Hiddleston’s UNICEF humanitarian work allowed him to take part in a program called the Rapid Response Mechanism. This is a strategy in which UNICEF quickly delivers food and other supplies in a helicopter to regions barricaded by conflict. Along with the Rapid Response Mechanism, Hiddleston witnessed another program UNICEF uses to help malnourished children. The World Food Programme delivers emergency food to these hard to reach areas, and in collaboration with this program, UNICEF has been able to set up multiple terminals that aid children by providing food and vaccinations for polio and measles. Along with these amenities, UNICEF helps reunite companionless children with their families.
The progress that has been made between Hiddleston’s first visit with UNICEF and his most recent shows how much can be accomplished in just five years. But such progress also allows room for more improvement. Hiddleston states that more can be done to help the people of South Sudan, who are now considered to be in a state of famine. With continued work and support, UNICEF can provide life-saving aid to people in South Sudan and other countries in Africa’s eastern region.
– Alyssa Hannam