Orlando Bloom Visits Impoverished Children Affected by Boko Haram

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Orlando Bloom may be taking a break from set life, but his good works are in full effect.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador visited south east Niger recently to meet with families displaced as a result of Boko Haram.

“As a father, it is hard for me to imagine how many of these children are caught up in this conflict. During my trip I have heard dreadful stories about children fleeing on foot, leaving everything behind, including the safety of their homes and classrooms,” said Bloom, who first travelled to see UNICEF’s work in 2007.

Look to the Stars reports Katy Perry’s bae spent time with teens like Amada Goni, 14, whose family lives in a refugee camp in Garin Wazam, after Boko Haram raided their village and recruited most of Goni’s friends as child soldiers.

Now Goni goes to a UNICEF-supported psych group where he confronts his trauma.

“When I go there to play, I feel good, I feel relieved, I feel much better. It helps with the nightmares,” he told Bloom.

“It is extremely hard to comprehend this situation when you are not there. I saw the depth of the pain and suffering these kids are going through. This is not something any child should experience,” said Bloom. “However it was amazing to witness the smile on Amada’s face as he played basketball with his friends. This is the result of UNICEF’s work.”

Bloom documented his adventures on Instagram and urged his fans to donate to UNICEF to save more children.

 

MCM | ‘Selma’ Star Creates Scholarship for Nigerian Girls

David Oyelowo

Selma‘s David Oyelowo launched a leadership scholarship–for Nigerian girls that were victims of kidnapping, rape and torture by terrorist groups (like Boko Haram)–earlier this month.

The David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship for Girls is giving Chibok schoolgirls, and sadly many others affected by terrorism, a second chance by placing them back in the classrooms.

In not just any ‘ol school. The scholarship covers admittance in the exclusive Anglican Girls Grammer School in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, where the lucky ladies will study math and science.

The British actor released the statement below about his involvement.

“We cannot stand idly by while thousands of innocent girls remain under serious threat. With our help, these bright and resilient girls can blossom into Nigeria’s most inspiring leaders in government, education, business, entertainment, and so much more,” the Queen of Katwe actor says. “The way to combat oppression and injustice is to be intentional in calling it out and then seeking to affect sustainable and long-term change. That is what these Leadership scholarships are all about. We seek to nurture a generation of strong female trailblazers whose positive impact will be felt across Nigeria and around the world.”

David is not only loaning his very famous name to the cause, but fundraising efforts, admin work and promotion.

Oh and one other little thing. The actor’s celeb connections. Like…

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Oooopraaaahhhh! The media mogul is one of the seed investors that cover three scholarships for 2016-2017 semester.

The scholarship is one of several programs under the Geanco Foundation umbrella whose mission is to ” transform the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Africa,” with health and education efforts.

The Chibok schoolgirls have been helpless since their return. It’s nice to know they finally

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Baltimore’s Hometown Heroes

carmeloanthonyWhew!! I think I speak for everyone when I say what a week, what a week, what a mighty eventful week. Thank God it’s Feel Good Friday.

These five days may’ve been jam packed with depressing news (earthquakes, riots and tornados) but there was some goodness sandwiched in between. For starters, 200 Nigerian girls (not the ones Twitter made famous) kidnapped by the Boko Haram were rescued by the military. Finally, a win for the good guys.

Wait, I’m not done. B-more natives refused to be labeled as “thugs” and criminals by the mainstream media for expressing outrage in the Freddie Gray murder. Yup, you read that right. Black lives do matter. Hence the prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, ruling his death a homicide today.

The Baltimore community–banned together to clean up the mess others started with riots and looting–to let the country know what the real town looks like. Hint, hint CVS burnings aren’t an everyday thing. Although it needed to be for the media to take notice. Kudos to B-more residents for changing the script on their story. And hometown heroes like Carmelo Anthony marching in support.

Finally, the silver lining in Nepal is the against-the-odds survivors of a massive earthquake. For 22 hours a baby was buried deep under rubble until being rescued. If that’s not a miracle…oh, wait two more people were pulled out.

See, there is a lot to be grateful for this week. Including, Prince plans to release a song for Baltimore. No word on a release date.

RARE SIGHTING: Janet Jackson Visits UNICEF Zaatari Refugee Camp

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Janet (Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty) has made a rare public showing–fulfilling her six-to-eight month public appearance quota–at a Syrian children’s refugee camp in Jerusalem. The pop icon and her bajillionaire hubby, Wissam, visited UNICEF’s Za’atari camp that houses Syrian refugee children.

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The couple talked with the kids, gave hugs and held up peace signs during their time together. The Za’atari camp is the world’s 2nd largest; aiding over 120,000 refugees, half of which are children.

Janet Jackson has been a vocal supporter of UNICEF; sending out call-to-action Facebook posts about displaced children and last year made a PSA to address child hunger in Central Africa.

Its been a year since Janet Jackson has been in the limelight, her last public appearance was at an amfAR cinema event that she co-chaired. Since the diva’s absence her most celebrated album–Rhythm Nation–marked its 25th anniversary. And sadly the issues she addressed are still not resolved, or as she succinctly puts it:

On the heels of Taliban brutally murdering more than 100 Pakistani children at school and Boko Haram still terrorizing North-eastern Nigerians–killing 33 people and kidnapping about 200 young men, women and children in a village— EVERYONE needs to give a damn.

Is Hashtag Activism Saving or Hindering Kidnapped Nigerian Girls?

Image Courtesy: Michelle Obama Instagram

Image Courtesy: Michelle Obama Instagram

I got into a back-and-forth debate with my best friend yesterday about the usefulness of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag flooding Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, recently. My bestie thinks the avalanche of hashtag activism for the Nigerian girls will make things even worse rather than helping the girls get reunited with their moms. She pointed out that more girls are getting kidnapped as a result of the attention. And the issue shouldn’t be minimized to scrawling four words on a blank page and hoping Boko Haram will be so embarrassed by the attention they’ll return the teens.

Okay, I get it. I don’t think any of us are so naive to believe Boko Haram, who Al-Qaeda even disapproves of, will be persuaded by our pleas. But, if it wasn’t for the hashtag activism the U.S. wouldn’t be sending aid to them now. Nigeria’s govt wouldn’t be offering $30K reward for those with info on the kidnapping. The hashtag was all the moms could depend on when their voices fell on deaf ears with Nigerian govt, until President Jonathan was pushed (by the trivial hashtags) to speak on the issue.

So, yes, I stand by the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag for awareness. And not only that. What else can we do? How else can we express our anger, heartbreak and disgust as a whole?

These abducted schoolgirls are my sisters and I call on the international community and the government of Nigeria to take action and save my sisters. It should be our duty to speak up for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are in a very difficult situation.

–Malala (in interview with NY Times)

I know people are weary of trends. And fear this is another one the West is so easy to adopt and neglect for the next hot topic dripping from social media’s fingertips. So, like Nigerian novelist Teju Cole and sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, ponder the next step in this process and whether it serves its purpose.

All valid points. But, I’d rather be accused of making noise about an issue then staying silent while more people suffer.