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By Reya Mehrotra
Those in the limelight can often set the best examples as they have the power to amplify voices and support. In fact, we have often seen celebrities establish foundations for a cause they believe in. From Emma Watson to Kim Kardashian, here are some celebrities who are utilising their stardom and position to contribute to causes and raise global awareness on issues like gender equality, education, justice, among others.
The Live Love Laugh foundation was founded by Padukone in 2015 after she suffered from depression. It aims at helping those suffering from mental health illnesses. She has, through her work, raised awareness about mental health in the country. The foundation helps a person in need find a therapist through its helplines and is working towards removing the stigma associated with mental health.
Khan’s body of work goes beyond his impressionable screen presence. His show Satyamev Jayate discussed possible solutions to address social issues in India. Some of the issues discussed included topics like female foeticide, child sexual abuse, rape, honour killings, domestic violence, untouchability and so on. Through the show, his foundation Paani Foundation was born that aims at making Maharashtra a drought-free state. Between 2016 and 2019, the foundation hosted a competition called Satyamev Jayate Water Cup for excellence in soil and water conservation. In three years, over 550 billion litres of water storage capacity was created through the competition.
Kardashian’s involvement in the Innocence Project has been widely noted. It helps in freeing wrongly convicted persons and thus reforming the criminal justice system. She has also been studying law through apprenticeship to be a lawyer and might take the bar exam in 2022. In 2018, she met Trump to appeal for the commutation of sentences for a number of incarcerated women and was successful.
When it comes to gender equality, Emma Watson has been the loudest supporter. In 2014, she was appointed the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and has since worked towards the cause. As a part of the humanitarian efforts, she has been advocating education for girls. She has also been an active campaigner for the HeforShe campaign of the UN that promotes gender equality. Since the launch of the campaign, millions of men around the world have pledged to work towards gender equality. She has also actively raised her voice and campaigned for the right to abort, violence against women, sustainable fashion and has founded a book club called Our Shared Shelf.
As a Unicef National Ambassador since 2010, she works towards raising awareness for the needs of children in India. She is a part of numerous UN campaigns for girls and children like Girl’s Up campaign that aims at providing equal chances for medical care, education, social and economic opportunities and a life free from violence for adolescent girls in developing countries. She’s also a part of Deepshikha which has helped 70,000 Maharashtra women learn entrepreneurial skills. She has additionally founded the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education that gives education and medical care to children.
The American talk show host and philanthropist believes in leading by example. She has several charitable foundations and supports several causes. She was also the first African-American woman to join the top philanthropists’ list of Business Week in 2004. She has donated millions in charity through Oprah’s Angel Network, that now functions under her private organisation The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, since its inception in 1998. In 2007, she founded The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa which was conceptualised after her discussion with Nelson Mandela in early 2000s that education was the way to end poverty.
Apart from adopting children from all parts of the world along with her former husband Brad Pitt and setting an example, Angelina Jolie is involved in numerous causes. She has been visiting refugee camps as a special envoy for the UN since more than a decade. Not only did she donate to the UNHCR, but also helped build schools for refugee girls. She also co-founded Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative in 2012 that raises awareness on sexual violence against women, men, girls and boys in armed conflict situations. In 2014, she co-launched Draw Me To Safety Campaign with War Child UK to help children in war-torn countries. She also founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation and the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
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