Since its inception in 1946, UNICEF has shifted attention to human rights issues through celebrity endorsements, and iconic individuals like Audrey Hepburn have voiced support for the organization and its mission to protect children worldwide. The following 10 famous powerful women partner with UNICEF to continue the tradition.
The Colombian singer just celebrated her 10 year anniversary with UNICEF on October 24. She strongly believes that those in positions of power should use their influence to help others. Her non-profit, Pies Descalzos or the Barefoot Foundation, serves to connect displaced Colombian children with access to quality education. Supporters are able to assist in building schools by “buying a brick” on the foundation’s website or by sponsoring a child in the region.
2. Katy Perry
Perry recently lent her popular anthem “Roar” to spread awareness about UNICEF’s International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. In April, she visited underprivileged girls in Madagascar, whose school was destroyed by a cyclone in 2011. UNICEF has rebuilt over 240 classrooms in the region and has committed to using innovative technology to encourage education for girls.
3. Mia Farrow
For over 13 years Farrow has devoted her time to advocating and fundraising on behalf of children affected by violence. She has visited nearly a dozen countries in her efforts to help impoverished children including Sudan, Darfur, Chad, Haiti, Nigeria, Angola, Guinea, Uganda, Israel and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
4. Serena Williams
Williams first encountered the organization in 2006 during a visit to a UNICEF-sponsored health care campaign in Ghana. Since then, she has focused her efforts on supporting education programs for children living in poverty-stricken areas of the world under UNICEF’s Schools for Africa and Schools for Asia initiatives.
5. Whoopi Goldberg
Goldberg has been partnered with the organization for over 10 years in order to garner attention for a variety of human rights issues, but her passion lies with supporting children suffering from HIV/AIDS. Her efforts to raise awareness include visual and audio public service announcements, as well as fundraisers hosted by her non-profit Comedy Relief.
6. Judy Collins
A Goodwill Ambassador for nearly 20 years, the singer and songwriter has used her musical talents to support UNICEF efforts in several ways. After promoting a book focused on UNICEF efforts in Yugoslavia in 1994, Collins penned a song inspired by humanitarian efforts and donated the profits to UNICEF.
7. Selena Gomez
After becoming the youngest Goodwill Ambassador in 2009, Gomez lent her support by filming several PSAs and participating in UNICEF initiatives such as the Eliminate Project and the Tap Project. In 2012, she used social media to gain awareness about widespread malnutrition in children of west and central Africa. Despite her busy schedule as a singer/actress/ designer, Gomez has remained involved in efforts to decrease childhood malnutrition. She has traveled to Chile and Ghana to witness programs first hand and continues to initiate methods to serve others through charity concerts, PSAs and more.
8. Angie Harmon
Upon her appointment as a UNICEF Ambassador in January, Harmon filmed a PSA to gain awareness of the organization’s End Trafficking Initiative. The program aims to end the practice of child trafficking and child labor in the U.S.
9. Lucy Liu
Since 2004, Liu has participated in a wide variety of UNICEF initiatives and travelled to various program sites including Lesotho, Pakistan, the Republic of the Congo, Russia, Egypt, and Peru. In addition to acting and producing, Liu is also an artist. She has donated over $267,000 from original artwork and photography sales to the organization. After publishing her first art book in 2011, she donated a percentage of the profits to the organization, as well.
10. Sarah Jessica Parker
After becoming an Ambassador in 1997, Parker served as a spokesperson for several UNICEF initiatives including the Tap Project and Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. The actress admits to being a supporter of UNICEF since her childhood, when she participated in its Trick-or-Treat campaign.
– Jasmine D. Smith