Hardships such as cancer, depression and eating-disorders didn’t stop Angelina Jolie from becoming an amazing humanitarian.
Though she’s known for her work as an actress, she’s done so much more, and so much good. Watch her inspiring story below.
Not Quite Plain Sailing
She’s a calm and accomplished person now, but Angelina’s life hasn’t been easy. Her parents divorced when she was just a baby and she developed a problematic relationship with her father, actor Jon Voight. In her early life she struggled with insomnia and an eating disorder. Because she had difficulty connecting with people, she began self-mutilating. She experimented with drugs and by age20 she, as she says ‘had used almost every drug possible.’ She’s had episodes of depression and planned to commit suicide twice.
But she definitely rose from all of this.
She stepped onto the Hollywood scene with roles in movies such as The Bone Collector, Girl, Interrupted and became even more famous after playing Lara Croft in the movie Tomb Raider. She’s won an Oscar and several other prestigious prices for her actingwork.
When filming a sequel to Tomb Raider in Cambodia, Angelina became intrigued with the country; its nature, people and also the poverty. This was an eye opening experience for her and she got involved as a humanitarian.
Part-time Actress, Fulltime Humanitarian
Though she still works as an actress, Angelina has committed most of her time to humanitarian work. Using her actress-salary to fund her humanitarian efforts, she’s not just a spokesperson, but actually does the work herself.
She became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. With the UNHCR she has met with refugees, officials and relief groups in over 30 countries. She travelled to several warzones such as Sudan’s Darfur Region, the Syrian-Iraqi border and Kabul in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, she opened several schools, and wildlife and medical facilities in Asia and Africa.
Jolie Legal Fellows Program
She founded the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, providing free legal aid to young asylum seekers in the United States and created Kids in Need of Defense, which helps children to enter the U.S. immigration system alone.
Angelina also established the Jolie Legal Fellows Program. This is a network of lawyers and attorneys who advocate the development of human rights in their countries. It facilitates child protection efforts in Haiti and educates Libyans on understanding their rights as citizens.
She founded several other foundations; the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, named for her Cambodian-born son. This foundation supports the country’s conservation efforts and now also includes agriculture, education, health care and infrastructure. And the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which she created with her then husband BradPitt. This foundation donated millions of dollars to diverse causes to rebuild after Hurricane Katrine struck and to children’s health centers in Ethiopia and Cambodia.
Land of Blood and Honey
She has used her film career not only to support her humanitarian work financially, but also to shed light on important issues. Her directing debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, depicts the horrors of the 1990s Bosnian war. Inspired by this movie, she joined forces with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague last yearto raise awareness about the use of rape as a weapon in war. She co-chaired the four-day global summit to end sexual violence in conflict; which resulted in a protocol endorsed by 151 nations.
Pilot, Professor and Mother
Angelina Jolie is the proud mother of six, of which three kids she adopted from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia.
Due to her experience, she became a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, where she teaches at the university’s center on women, peace and security. She has also taken flying lessons with the aim of ferrying aidworkers and food supplies around the world.
When visiting a camp on the Somali-Kenyan border in 2009, she said, "A refugeewoman, living nowhere, raising five kids with no food, does not need me to cry. She isn’t crying. She needs me to go find some solutions for her." And that is what she has been trying to do, helping, any way she can.