Sacha Baron Cohen & Ilsa Fisher Donate $1 Million To Syrian Refugees
On Sunday, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) announced that Sacha Baron Cohen and Ilsa Fisher donated $1 million to help Syrian refugees. Half the amount will go to Save the Children to provide measles vaccines for children in northern Syria, while the IRC will use the other half to provide Syrian refugees with shelter, health care, and sanitation.
The conflict in Syria has become a bigger picture as the year comes to a close. The turmoil has forced over four million to flee the nation, and millions of others to relocate within the country in an attempt to escape violence. According to World Vision, 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and millions of Syrian children have been forced to quit their studies due to the conflict.
It's a crisis that needs all the help it can get, especially as terrorism stokes fears about accepting refugees in the United States (currently, 31 state representatives have said they do not want to accept refugees.) Seeing celebrities like Baron Cohen and Fisher aid in the relief serves a motivator for ordinary people to help as well. Of course, these two A-listers aren't the only ones to help Syrian refugees. Here are six other celebrities who are helping the cause and adding fuel to promoting acceptance and assistance.
Benedict Cumberbatch has campaigned for Save the Children donations on stage at showings of Hamlet, where he plays the Danish prince himself.
"You have to understand, no one puts children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land," he told an audience after one showing. He said the U.K.'s plan to accept 20,000 refugees is simply not enough, ending his speech with a passionate, "F*ck the politicians!"
His audiences have donated around $150,000 to Save the Children so far.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has used the hashtag #RefugeesWelcome to lend her voice to the humanitarian crisis, and has retweeted people calling Prime Minister David Cameron's stance on refugees "shameful." She's also called for more refugees to be allowed into the U.K., apparently as disappointed by the current 20,000 number.
Angelina Jolie has long been a supporter for human rights, and the Syrian refugee crisis is currently high on her list. After visiting Turkey to meet Syrian refugees and get a sense of the crisis firsthand, she penned an op-ed in The Times, writing, "The way we respond now will confirm what kind of countries we are, the depth of our humanity and the strength of our democracies."
On World Refugee Day this summer, Jolie also spoke on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the United Nations and urged the Security Council to take action and make a unified plan to end the crisis.
Fight Club actor Edward Norton was actually inspired by a Humans of New York post when he decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign for a Syrian refugee, a scientist who is battling stomach cancer and lost seven family members in the conflict. HONY photographer Brandon Stanton shared that Edward Norton got in touch with him and asked if he could launch a fundraiser for the scientist — to which Stanton said, "Of course Edward Norton. Also, you were awesome in Birdman. Also, let’s hang out."The Crowdrise campaign has raised nearly half a million dollars so far, and is ongoing.
Cate Blanchett spoke in a minute-long video appeal, supporting the UNHCR and calling for donations. She and her husband joined the UNHCR on a trip to Lebanon to meet with refugees, and said one Syrian woman's story in particular stuck with her. The woman, an architect, made the decision to make the sea passage with her children.
"As a mother I can only imagine the difficulty and distress of making such a decision," Blanchett tells the camera directly.
Salma Hayek is the co-founder of Chime for Change, an organization that supports girls and women around the world. Chime for Change has a campaign for Syrian children, Chime for the Children of Syria, that took her to Lebanon to meet with refugees.
"I'm deeply inspired by the courage of the Syrian refugee children and their families that I met in Lebanon who, against the odds, and despite the harm they have suffered or witnessed, are still determined to endure life and hope for a better future," she told Us Weekly.
Images: Michael Kovac/Getty