SEATTLE — At the end of 2015, Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife, Isla Fischer, donated $1 million to help the Syrian refugees. Half of the amount will go to Save the Children, while the other half will go to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Sacha Baron Cohen is best known for his role as Borat and Admiral General Aladeen.
Save the Children is devoting their share of the donation to providing over 250,000 children with measles vaccinations in Northern Syria. While measles cases have plummeted from nearly 550,000 in 2000 to just over 100,000 in 2015, instability in Iraq and Syria has led to a surge in outbreaks. Vaccines provided by Save the Children will save thousands of innocent lives put at risk by the war.
The IRC, on the other hand, will use Cohen and Fischer’s donation for housing, education, health care and sanitation for female refugees and their children. While many of the Syrian refugees moving to Europe have been male, the majority of female refugees and their families are concentrated in camps located around Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Over 3 million people are estimated to be living in these camps.
Many of the refugee camps are at their limits and need help from outside agencies to manage the flow and affairs of refugees. Women and children are the most vulnerable in this situation. The IRC works to improve the living conditions of the refugees, as well as provide emergency supplies and medical care.
“The Syrian conflict is now approaching its fifth year and children are the first victims,” said Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, in a press release. “By allowing us to make their generous donation to Syrian children public, Cohen and Fischer are helping highlight the tragedy of the issue today.”
Nearly half of Syrian people have been displaced by war. That is over 11 million people and growing daily. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of refugees, the camps need money and assistance just to provide the basic necessities of life.
“Now is the time for all of us to double down on commitments to civilians caught up in the Syria conflict,” said IRC CEO David Miliband. “These people are the victims of terror. Cohen and Fischer’s donation is a great expression of humanity, and a challenge to do more for the most vulnerable.”