Angelina Jolie spoke at a press conference in Washington D.C. on Thursday to announce the formal launch of Global Action for Children (GAC), an organization focused on increasing U.S. funding for the support of orphans in developing countries, including free primary school education.
Jolie is no stranger to humanitarian efforts, having campaigned for relief in the troubled nations of Cambodia, Darfur, Sri Lanka and many others; personally visiting the poverty-stricken locales and refugee camps. She and her partner, Brad Pitt, have used their worldwide celebrity to bring attention to those in need — along with making sizeable donations on behalf of their Jolie/Pitt Foundation.
Now Angelina has passionately joined forces with GAC, dedicating time, money and emotion to the cause. “My daughter Zahara was orphaned because of AIDS,” she told the audience in Washington, “So I don’t have to tell you how precious I think these children are.”
Children are a specific concern for Angelina and Brad; they have adopted three orphans themselves — Maddox from Cambodia, Zahara from Ethiopia and Pax from Vietnam.
“My daughter will learn about Ethiopia, and I pray that that country will stabilize, and when she’s 16 she can spend time there,” Angelina told “Access Hollywood.” “But I’m very concerned that when she’s 16, she won’t be able to go, because it’ll be too dangerous. So, I have an investment in these countries personally, because I’m concerned about the future of them on obviously a very personal level.”
And GAC Executive Director Jennifer Delaney believes that it’s that “personal concern” that makes Jolie and Pitt such powerful allies in the cause.“Not only do (Jolie and Pitt) care about children, but they’re actually taking concrete action to help the millions of children orphaned by AIDS, TB, malaria, and war around the world,” Delaney told “Access Hollywood.” “They’re committed to ensuring that the orphan’s bill is fully funded and that all children around the world have access to go to school.”
Delaney is confident that with the help of Angelina and Brad, the White House and members of Congress will realize that Americans support the full funding of a bill to support orphans.
“By 2010 there are going to be 20 million children orphaned by AIDS, and millions more orphaned by tuberculosis, malaria and war,” she said. “While there’s been lots of attention on orphans and the crisis, the funding has not matched the level of attention.”
Delaney reveals that Jolie and Pitt have donated an “incredible” $1 million to GAC, and, to her, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as their help and influence is concerned.
“They deeply care about — they don’t only deeply care — but they take concrete actions to actually help children,” said Delaney. “And not just one child or 10 children, but they actually want to see the millions of children who’ve been orphaned helped.”