Red Nose Day
Jack Black checked up on a Ugandan teen that he met during last year’s Red Nose Day.

Red Nose Day, a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief Inc., was held this year on May 26. The campaign works to free children around the world from poverty.

The Red Nose Day Special is a live two-hour primetime television event that brings celebrities together to use the power of comedy to raise money. This year, the organization partnered with NBC, Walgreens, M&Ms and the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation.

Jack Black, an American actor, comedian, musician and producer, was one of the 2016 participants of Red Nose Day’s inaugural telethon. He took a look back on his experience last year, when he traveled to a Ugandan slum and met an impactful young man.

Black was brought to tears when he visited the slums of Kampala, Uganda, where he met the orphaned teen named Felix. Black spent two days with Felix, learning how the teen made his living selling plastic bottles and slept on the dangerous streets at night.

The experience stuck with Black. The telethon covered an update on Felix, showing viewers how the teen benefitted from the organization’s efforts and giving Black some peace of mind.

When Black visited the slums, he was shocked at how much it emotionally affected him. He found it unfathomable that teenagers were sleeping on the streets and had little to no access to basic necessities.

During Black’s trip, the teen asked if he could go home with Black, saying, “I want to go with you.” While holding back tears, the actor replied, “I don’t think I can take you home. I don’t think it’s allowed.”

After the emotional experience, Black now feels better knowing that Red Nose Day has helped teens like Felix. In the video clip update, Felix describes his life now, saying: “I’m not scared anymore. There is no scary place. I would like to do well at school and complete my bright future. Now I have a dream.”

Felix additionally thanked Black for sharing his story with the world. With the funds raised by Red Nose Day, Felix was placed in a counseling program and then with a foster family. He is also now receiving an education.

This year, Black took a comedic spin on tackling child poverty. He said the best way to donate is simply by buying a little red nose, noting that they are great stocking stuffers.

The little red noses must have been a hit, as Red Nose Day raised $31.5 million this year. This money goes a long way in aiding the global poor. According to the Red Nose Day organization, $4 buys anti-malaria to protect mothers and children against mosquitos, $5 buys antibiotics to prevent pneumonia in children, and $15 can keep a child safe and sheltered for a week.

Globally, Red Nose Day has raised $1 billion in the last 25 years. While half of the money is given domestically, the other half goes to the poorest communities in places like Africa, Latin America and Asia. The funds are directly given to children in need of safety, education and healthcare.

In 2015, $170,000 was given to provide vaccines to children under the age of five living in the poorest communities in Africa. $30,000 was given to children and families in Africa that do not have access to clean water and sanitation.

Some of the 2016 charity partners included the Children’s Health Fund, The Global Fund, OXFAM, Save the Children and Gavi.

Kimber Kraus

Photo: Flickr