MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — Olivia Colman is an acclaimed British actress who has achieved global recognition for her comedic and dramatic roles in film and television. Known for her roles in hit shows such as Peep Show (2003-2015) and Fleabag (2016-2019) and films such as The Favourite (2018) and The Lost Daughter (2021), her celebrity influence gave her a chance to pursue many philanthropic endeavors with both U.K. and international charities.
Olivia Colman’s work with UNICEF has been ongoing since 2015. She has helped the charity to provide humanitarian assistance to children around the world and advocated for the rights and needs of displaced children and families. Currently acting as UNICEF U.K. President, she is a key supporter of the charity which works in more than 190 countries to support and protect the most vulnerable children.
Early Involvement with UNICEF
Colman has been involved in a range of UNICEF campaigns; in 2018 she led the appeal to raise funds for UNICEF U.K.’s Children’s Emergency Fund on BBC Radio 4, which helps children who have been impacted by conflicts and natural disasters. UNICEF helped by providing them with education services, physical and mental health support and giving them access to clean water. In the same year, she also helped refugee children in the U.K. by supporting the appeal to put pressure on the government to make it easier for refugee children to reunite with their close families.
Colman then became an official UNICEF U.K. Ambassador in 2019, after leading many successful campaigns that year. She supported the appeal to help people affected by the conflict in Syria, which provided 1.9 million people with access to clean water. She also helped host the Soccer Aid for UNICEF campaign, which broke records by raising £7.9 million for the charity.
In 2020, Colman also became the president of UNICEF U.K. In a press release, she explained her undertaking of this new responsibility, stating that she could “think of nothing more important than keeping children healthy and happy.”
Sending Supplies to Crisis Zones
More recently in December 2022, Colman visited Copenhagen, Denmark, where the UNICEF Global Supply and Logistics Hub was shipping supplies to crisis zones in countries such as Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Yemen. Colman packed kits that UNICEF later shipped to children in Ukraine. The UNICEF Early Development kits contained games, puzzles and toys that encouraged childhood development and helped children to recover from and work through traumas formed due to the war. Colman also learnt about the midwifery and hygiene kits, which provided emergency aid and essential items such as menstrual pads, child potties, water purification tablets and medical equipment.
Colman’s presence at the Copenhagen hub was vital in bringing awareness to the work of UNICEF and her celebrity status amplified the voices of many she helped bring relief. She urged the public to “donate what they can,” acknowledging the “children such as those in Ukraine, who continue to be killed and injured by the terrible violence happening around them.”
Her advocacy efforts are crucial in bringing awareness to humanitarian crises such as the one in Ukraine, where over 7,000 people have been killed and over 11,000 people have been injured as of January 2023, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Olivia Colman’s work with UNICEF has allowed a multitude of children and families across the globe to access humanitarian aid and health and education programs which will provide some hope and relief in the face of crisis. Her philanthropy and dedication to humanitarian work are inspirational examples of how celebrities can use their platforms to advocate for the most vulnerable in society.
– Priya Thakkar