Tom Hiddleston is best known for playing Loki in the blockbuster hits Thor and The Avengers. Although he plays a despicable villain on-screen, his true persona is much more akin to that of the heroes his character so ardently despises. Since January 2013, Hiddleston has been an active and vocal supporter of UNICEF.
The British actor first became involved with UNICEF when he went on a trip to Guinea in West Africa to see the work that the organization is doing. While there, he met with children and members of the communities to see how UNICEF has impacted their lives. Hiddleston wrote six blog posts about his experiences there, ranging in topic from the various projects that have been implemented to playing soccer with local children.
As a ‘high profile’ supporter of the cause, much of his role is to raise awareness of UNICEF’s work and make their efforts known to a wider audience. His efforts have found resounding success: social media sites are rife with groups eager to support Hiddleston and his efforts. One group, called Hiddlestoners Have Heart, started an online fundraising event to support UNICEF UK with the goal of raising £14,000. To date, they have more than doubled that sum, raising a total of £32,771.34 (about $52,522 USD).
To further his advocacy efforts, Hiddleston also took part in 2013’s Live Below the Line Challenge. This annual campaign raises awareness of global poverty by challenging its participants to “live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for 5 days.” That means living off of £1 or $1.50 per day. As one would expect, he found the challenge to be extremely difficult, but ultimately very enlightening. He again wrote about it for the UNICEF blog, saying that the challenge taught him to think about food differently, to be less wasteful, and that it instilled in him a sincere sense of gratitude that he has never faced such hunger.
Tom Hiddleston’s involvement with UNICEF stands as an important reminder of the need to be active participants in the fight against global hunger and poverty. If the villainous Loki can find it in his heart to become a global citizen and to help those less fortunate, then certainly anyone can.
– Rebecca Beyer
Sources: UNICEF, Live Below The Line, Hiddlestoners Have Heart