LONDON, England — Singer and actress Rita Ora has a long history of using her influence as a popstar for philanthropic endeavors. In 2017, Ora won the Variety + H&M Conscious Award for her charitable actions and support of some of the world’s most underprivileged people. She supports 19 charities in total, including the Red Cross, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. By working with UNICEF, Rita Ora’s advocacy in Kosovo has given her the opportunity to work for a cause near and dear to her heart.
Rita Ora’s Connection to Kosovo
Much of Ora’s charitable work has been focused on the development of the newly independent Kosovo’s youngest generation. Ora was originally from Kosovo, but her parents moved to Britain to escape Albanian persecution in the early 1990s under the Yugoslav Republic. Her heritage has given her a connection to the country and influenced the scope of Rita Ora’s advocacy in Kosovo. Since 2013, Ora has been a supporter of UNICEF’s efforts in the region to try to improve conditions for children.
Following the end of the Kosovo War for Independence, many children were left without proper shelter or access to education and healthcare. UNICEF has worked to provide them with the accommodations they need and has helped raise awareness of the situation that persists in Kosovo. Ora saw this issue as a personal cause for her to directly contribute to improving child development in the country and to help UNICEF in many of its Balkan endeavors.
Many adolescents are pessimistic about the new country’s future. Kosovo’s youth unemployment rate is at 49 percent. Though this rate is high, it is slowly dropping. As a solution, UNICEF has implemented programs that push for better technical development of the youth and emphasize the importance of their engagement and contribution to society.
Rita Ora’s Advocacy In Kosovo
In April 2019, Ora supported the Soccer Aid for UNICEF campaign. The program works to raise funds and awareness for children’s health, education and development, especially in marginalized communities. With the youth constituting almost half of Kosovo’s population, emphasizing their development means ensuring future economic stability for Kosovo. The 2019 event raised more than $10 million for underprivileged children.
While Ora was in Kosovo supporting UNICEF’s cause, she made a surprise visit to UNICEF’s Activate event in Kosovo’s capital of Pristina. This event is an annual part of UNICEF’s campaign to assist in child development and works to provide training for Kosovo’s youth through training, financing and mentorship opportunities.
Ora took part in this youth empowerment event and worked to encourage the more than 400 young people in attendance that day to keep pursuing an education and working to develop their generation’s influence on Kosovo’s development as a nation. “I’m so happy and proud to be from here,” she said in a speech at the UNICEF event. “I [want to]do all I can to help and really support the culture and the youth of today.”
UNICEF U.K. Ambassador
Due to Ora’s advocacy in Kosovo and consistent involvement with UNICEF, she was named the UNICEF U.K. Ambassador when she returned from her trip to Kosovo in April. But, this is not the only title she has received for her charitable actions. In 2015, the former president of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga named Ora an honorary ambassador to Kosovo due to her work with UNICEF.
In response to Ora’s new appointment as ambassador from UNICEF, she made the following statement: “I am beyond honored to be appointed a U.K. UNICEF Ambassador. My recent trip to Kosovo allowed me to see UNICEF’s wonderful work first hand… I am more determined than ever to utilize my position to support, campaign and advocate.”
– Graham Gordon