I read in the news yesterday (okay it was E! News–but it was an E! exclusive!) that Angelina Jolie recently opened a primary school for girls outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. Jolie, who’ve we all seen in photos for her role as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, plans to fund the school through the proceeds from her new jewelry line, Style of Jolie.
Now, although I don’t know the specifics of her involvement withe school (the above plaque thanks her for a generous contribution), I have to say I’m impressed with the actress. Even though we’ve heard about Jolie’s work around the world with child refugees pretty regularly over the last few years, I’d argue that most of us never knew exactly where she was or what she was doing.
We see and hear more about Brad and her brood of adopted children then we do about the specifics of her actual on-the-ground contributions. And of course, there’s a skepticism associated with any celebrity “goodwill” that’s probably deserved. We’re used to celebrities showing up for photos ops and the chance to smack their names on something charitable.
But the Qualai Gudar Girls’ School is real (and not the first school she’s funded, I learned, through her nonprofit organization the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict) and it’s giving Afghani girls real opportunities.
Bravo, Angelina. I have many questions about how the school was opened, and perhaps more importantly, how it will be kept open as a safe place for girls to get an education. But right now, I just want to say that I’m feeling hopeful. Someone from the most privileged class of American society is making tangible commitments to some of the least powerful, most endangered voices in our world. And ironically, E! News was the first to report it.