Women of the World Help Their Sisters


Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

(Above: Angelina Jolie (center) visits one of her chari- ties, the Maddox Chivan Children’s Center, in Cambodia. The organization was founded in 2006 and helps children affected by HIV/AIDS in multiple ways. It is named after her son, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, who she adopted from Cambo- dia. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Minaal Arain, Staff

Throughout history women have fought for a fair and just world in which to live. Going back to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one the United States’ most prominent woman suffragists, in the 18th century, to today, we have seen women forging a path for change and equality. However, while activism is certainly important to these ladies, that has not always been their only job. Particularly in the entertainment industry, women have increasingly started to speak against biased practices and violations of their rights. Icons such as Hedy Lamarr and Grace Kelly took over the fight of many before them in the 1930s and 1950s. With each decade, younger celebrities have continued the fight from Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek, Emma Watson, and Lupita Nyong’O, to many others. While there is still work to be done for women to truly feel like they live in an equitable world, many women in countries outside of the U.S. are still fighting for basic human rights, and these women have had help from celebrities here in the States. Most recently, actress and film producer, Angelina Jolie, has been advocating and fighting for women of all different backgrounds through her relevancy, social media, and essays. 

So just how exactly has Jolie been helping? The Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Disney’s 2014 and 2019 Maleficent star started working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2001 after filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Cambodia. The filming was an experience that she believes, “Brought her a greater understanding of the world,” according to the UNHCR page dedicated to Jolie. Eager to get involved, Jolie first visited a refugee camp site in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Cambodia, as well as met with Afghan refugees in Pakistan that same year. She later became a Goodwill Ambassador in August 2001 (and eventually a Special Envoy in 2012). 

Jolie continued working with UNHCR to help refugees all across the world but stayed dedicated to fight for gender equality. She funded two schools for girls in Afghanistan and then in 2017, Jolie got involved with two movies. One was First They Killed My Father, a Netflix film that shows the life of a young Cambodian girl when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, which Jolie co-directed. However, Jolie didn’t stop there. On August 20, 2021, Jolie posted her first Instagram post,  “A Letter From An Afghan Girl,” in which a young girl reveals how her and her female peers, “Rights have been violated” after the Taliban took over the Afghan government. Thus, Jolie reestablished her commitment to the fight for Afghan girls and women and urged her followers to do so too. On August 15, 2022, Jolie wrote an essay “The World Must Not Look Away From Afghanistan’s Women” for TIME magazine one year after the collapse of the country’s government, stating in another Instagram post, “It cannot end here.” 

For Jolie it didn’t, as she continues to use social media as a platform solely to help refugees in various countries. Furthermore, she has dedicated at least 32 of her 60 posts to promote the voices of women and children of Afghanistan, The United States of America, Yemen, Ukraine, Iran, and Nigeria. In these posts, Jolie covers topics such as human rights, education, domestic violence, sexual violence, women equality, and human trafficking, her most recent post occurring on December 21, 2022. 

So what does this mean for us? And by “us” I mean those of us who are fortunate enough to have the right to go to work or school, who have a safe home, a warm meal to eat, comfortable clothes to change into, and a faucet with clean water to drink. I can probably speak for most of us when I say we don’t have millions to donate and lead busy lives where we barely get enough time to disconnect from school and work, let alone have time to travel all over the world. 

Well, what if I said that an individual doesn’t need millions and likely doesn’t even need to travel very far. There are thousands of refugee organizations here in Florida, in cities such as Orlando, Tampa, Ocala, and Miami that would appreciate whatever a person has, whether it be time, financial donations, food or water, or new/gently used goods. Furthermore, many religious organizations have ways to help families in need of homes. And of course, there are many national and international organizations who are no more than a website or phone call away. Making a difference in people’s lives has never been easier with our increased access to information, so I hope that we can all take a page from Angelina Jolie’s (and many others) book and help our sisters and their families around the world. 

(Above: Angelina Jolie (center) visits one of her charities, the Maddox Chivan Children’s Center, in Cambodia. The organization was founded in 2006 and helps children affected by HIV/AIDS in multiple ways. It is named after her son, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, who she adopted from Cambo-
dia. Photo courtesy of Getty Images. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)
(Above) The Catholic Charities of Central Florida is one organization that provides services for many causes including helping refugees and victims of human trafficking
from all over the world. Their Orlando location assists people in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties and provides many volunteer and donation opportunities. Photo courtesy of the Catholic Charities of Central Florida. (Photo courtesy of the Catholic Charities of Central Florida.)