SEATTLE — From their declaration of support to the creation of their own organizations, celebrities are using their influence to generate help for those affected by global poverty. These five superhero actors fight injustice beyond the movie set and prove that saving the world from poverty is not just a fictional story.
Ryan Reynolds Brings Attention to the Poverty Is Sexist Campaign
Ryan Reynolds enjoyed huge success from his lead role in the Deadpool movies. When the actor is off camera, he trades Deadpool’s unorthodox methods of fighting crime with a peaceful call to action. He is one of 140 celebrities to sign the Poverty Is Sexist open letter to political leaders in the world’s leading nations. It is sponsored by the ONE Campaign, which seeks to end poverty and preventable diseases in Africa. Since women are disproportionately affected by poverty, it expresses the importance of gender equality. The letter explains that the solution for ending poverty is women’s access to education and economic opportunity.
Chris Hemsworth Promotes Initiatives Against Child Abuse
Chris Hemsworth, known as Thor among Marvel comic fans, harnesses unparalleled strength with a hammer onscreen. But in real life, his soft side shows in support of the Australian Childhood Foundation. The organization helps survivors of child abuse and educates parents about healthy methods for raising children. Hemsworth became passionate about child safety through his parents, who are both therapists. They educated him about the traumatic aftermath of abuse based on the stories of their clients. According to his profile on the foundation’s website, Hemsworth believes the key to ending child abuse lies in building strong communities, spreading knowledge and improving access to child services.
Ben Affleck Is Saving the World from Poverty Through the Eastern Congo Initiative
Batman, played by Ben Affleck, prefers the solitude of his bat cave. But the actor behind the mask is an avid philanthropist who travels overseas to learn about those affected by an unstable political atmosphere. In 2009, Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative. It promotes sustainability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by providing grants to local businesses. He went there 10 times and met with displaced people, former child soldiers and leaders of non-governmental organizations. Their life stories gave insight into the conflicts in the DRC and how communities have looked for solutions. Affleck has lobbied Congress four times to increase aid for the DRC, which includes a meeting in 2015 with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Projects.
Famke Janssen Shares the Global Need for Clean Water
Another one of these five superhero actors is Famke Janssen, who plays Jean Grey in the X-Men films. Much like her character, she has found her niche in helping others through her role as Ambassador for Green Cross International’s Water for Life and Peace Programme. The organization directly provides clean drinking water to underdeveloped countries and encourages sharing across borders. Janssen is tasked with raising awareness about the global water crisis and gave a speech at the 2012 World Water Forum. Alexander Likhotal, President of Green Cross International, believes Janssen’s film work will reach large audiences and generate more efforts for water preservation.
Elizabeth Olsen Gets Involved in Sustainable Community Development
Elizabeth Olsen’s character, Scarlet Witch, was coerced into working with villains but later joined the Avengers. Similarly, Olsen discovered her call to philanthropy in the real world during a trip to Nicaragua. When a yoga retreat got cancelled, she decided to volunteer in San Juan del Sur, when she and numerous local citizens repaired desks, updated athletic equipment and renovated latrines. All this was done through the Latitude Project, which encourages sustainability and community participation. Also, they collaborate with local businesses to maximize the amount of resources allocated to restoration projects. Olsen told InStyle that the Latitude Project has no overhead costs, so people can see their donations go directly to those in need.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; there are more than just these five superhero actors saving the world from poverty by doing the real-life work of their characters. Many other celebrities recognize their power and choose to ally themselves with the world’s poor.
– Sabrina Dubbert