Angelina Jolie — actress, filmmaker and United Nations high commissioner for refugees’ envoy — spent World Refugee Day in Kenya celebrating and speaking at the International Peace Support Training Centre. Jolie has been involved in helping refugees with the UNHCR since 2001 after her time filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in a war-torn Cambodia. Since then, she has been dedicated to keeping in contact with and helping as many refugees as possible wherever there is crisis.
While in Kenya, Jolie spoke with refugee girls who were invited to the center to hear her speak. The actress touched on the dangers these girls and young women face when they flee their homes alone or are completely split from their parents or guardians. Many of these cases result in some form of sexual violence against them, and in turn many of these female refugees become young mothers.
“The role of sexual violence in compounded,” Jolie started, “when it is carried out by someone in uniform who has taken an oath to protect. So it is a responsibility of those who wear the uniform to take lead now by correcting from within, setting an example stepping forward with new commitments.”
After 16 years of work with the UNHCR and three adopted children from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, Jolie has promised to help each and every country she has visited. Her commitment to charity and donation are admirable, as is her understanding of her place as a privileged American woman. With just about 21.3 million refugees in the world and 65 million total who have been displaced from their homes because of war or other crises, Jolie has kept a firm belief in helping with her presence. Her time in Kenya for this year’s World Refugee Day was notable and important; we’ll be on the lookout for more humanitarian work from this generous actor.