Admirably, Scarlett Johansson is active in her support of various charities and causes. For most up-to-date news, please refer to the news archive.
Scarlett Johansson has joined international agency Oxfam in the fight against poverty following a life-changing trip to India and Sri Lanka in February 2007. During her ten-day visit, Scarlett learned how investing in education and basic health-care are vital to saving lives and lifting millions of poor children and families out of poverty. She also met Indian women who’ve survived domestic violence and Tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka.Scarlett, who has been a long-time supporter of Oxfam, was moved by the organization’s response to saving and rebuilding lives following the 2004 Tsunami. She traveled with the international development organization to better understand the complex issues facing poor communities and how support and funding from the US and other rich nations can help end poverty.
She began her trip spending a day with young girls at an Oxfam-funded school in rural Uttar Pradesh, India that has enabled over a thousand poor children from the lowest Dalit caste to gain a basic education. In Delhi she met with survivors of domestic violence who are part of Oxfam’s “We Can” campaign. Over 800,000 people have joined the campaign to overcome domestic violence which affects millions of women across
South Asia. In Sri Lanka, she met with a Sri Lankan Tsunami survivor Bandawathi Maitipe and her son Asela Abeytunga. She is piecing her life together after losing her husband, younger son and tailoring business.
Oxfam’s Executive Director, Jeremy Hobbs, said that Scarlett’s involvement was very important in helping gain attention to the solutions to poverty. “By supporting Oxfam, Scarlett is taking a stand alongside millions of people globally who are working to overcome poverty. Her support is crucial in helping to show how the smallest donation to Oxfam can mean the world of difference to a poor community.”
“Having visited Oxfam-funded school programs in rural communities has made me realize how vital education is to developing countries in bringing people out of poverty and giving them a sense of dignity, self-worth and confidence.”
“The devastation both directly and indirectly as a result of the tsunami is overwhelming. A mother who had received aid money to finance her small business and was living with her 25 year-old-son had lost both her husband and younger son as well as their home and tailoring shop, the only source of income. After two years, they are still waiting to be housed, after a long struggle with a landlord from whom they’ve had rented the house for the past fifty years. Afterwards, I went to visit a rural fishing community which Oxfam had fully irrigated, allowing people to live safely in a government development. After hearing such a devastating case that morning, seeing this village thrive gave me a sense of hope and progress. It was an incredible opportunity to see the grass roots approach being taken by non-governmental organizations, such as Oxfam, towards reconstructing the lives of this devastated country.”
“I met a young girl, Gudiya, at a school for Dalit children, a community considered to be the lowest class. She was an amazing, bright young girl, full of ambition and attending the fifth grade. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said ‘a government official’. Every morning she rises at three am to study and then complete the household chores before walking for half an hour to school. I asked her how she felt she would be able to raise her family and also hold a government position. She responded confidently, ‘I can manage’. Her self-pride and drive to succeed was an obvious outcome from her schooling.”
Scarlett has been announced as the face of Bono’s new project, Red; a brand that will invite other companies to contribute products to it and donates a significant percentage of profits to the Global Fund which fights TB, Aids and malaria in Africa.
“It really works. I mean, I’m a Red American Express cardholder, and I’m putting everything on it now. And the clothing brands involved are so available to everyone: Gap, Converse, Armani – brands that people buy all the time.” It is the involvement of American Express that has really let the project run, since it’s decision to give 1 per cent of everything spent on its credit card reassured the other brands that it was a safe move to get involved.”
TRIP TO RWANDA (2008)
Scarlett Johansson, actress and activist returns this week from her first trip to Rwanda with (RED), the initiative to engage business and consumer power in the fight against AIDS in Africa. During her four day stay, the actress visited projects and people who benefit from the flow of (RED) funds via the Global Fund into Rwanda to help tackle the AIDS and HIV pandemic there. Scarlett has supported (RED) since its launch in 2006.
“It was important for me to come here and understand the issue we’re up against firsthand. It’s not until you’ve had the privilege of meeting healthcare providers who are fighting the daily battle, heard from people who are now getting antiretroviral drugs to stay alive, and met mothers whose babies are born healthy because they received treatment that stopped transmission of HIV, that you understand that we absolutely can do something to reverse the AIDS crisis in African countries.” commented Scarlett. “I came here with an open mind, wanting to listen, understand and learn; I leave with the overwhelming understanding that the small action of making a (RED) choice in your purchases in the West has an enormous impact on the lives of people in countries like Rwanda.”
The results of such projects are evident in the statistics – 5% of Rwanda’s 9 million population was HIV positive in 2003, and in 2007 this rate is down to 3%*.
It has been over 2 years since (RED) funds began flowing into Global Fund projects in Rwanda, with over $22 million into the country so far. The power of (RED) consumer action has helped provide antiretroviral therapy for HIV and AIDS to over 17,000 patients, and reached over 408,000 pregnant women with counseling and services to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
USA Harvest (2005)
USA Harvest was founded in 1989 in Louisville, Kentucky. The organization has expanded across the nation through the efforts of more than 125,000 volunteers. They now have chapters in over 130 cities and towns from New York to Los Angeles, and from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Miami. “USA Harvest is now serving over 5,400 agencies nationwide. Our volunteers have provided over 11.6 BILLION POUNDS of food to these deserving organizations. And by doing so, we’ve helped them save millions of dollars that have been re-allocated to other extremely important needs such as clothing, shelter, job training and opportunities, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and counseling programs”, states the website of the organization.
“We were trying to organize an actors’ workshop at the 92nd Street Y in New York City to benefit this organization called USA Harvest, which is going to be feeding people in New Orleans for the next three years”, Scarlett told Interview magazine in 2005. “It’s strange how you have to go the non-profit route to make anything happen because the government is so slow.
Emergency Communities (2005)
Scarlett is involved with Emergency Communities, a disaster relief organization. They seek to fill gaps in traditional relief models by working to rehabilitate communities, not just individuals. “We are a grassroots, on-the-ground relief effort using compassion and creativity to provide for those affected by disasters. Our first major project, the Made with Love Cafe and Grill in St. Bernard Parish, adjacent to the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, has already served over 100,000 meals to thousands of returning residents. We provide nutritional, logistical, and emotional support for residents returning to rebuild their lives. Most importantly, we provide a safe, warm space for the community – a space filled with compassion, love, and hope as we work together to recover and build anew”, is written on the website.
The Global Call to Action against Poverty (2004)
The Global Call to Action against Poverty is a world-wide alliance committed to pushing world leaders to live up to their promises, and to make a breakthrough on poverty in 2005. The campaign is calling on world leaders to fulfil their commitments on trade justice, more and better aid and full debt cancellation. It is also demanding transparency and accountability from all governments in their plans to eliminate poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals. The alliance includes charities, trade unions, faith groups and grassroots movements active in over 70 countries across the world. Together the Global Call to Action against Poverty members represent well over 150 million people. Well-known supporters of the campaign include Nelson Mandela, Bono, Claudia Schiffer, Desmond Tutu and Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett did an ad for the campaign in 2004. “2005 is the year to make history. To make poverty history”, she says. The video can be download on the Video Archive.
MoveOn.org Political Action announced a new grassroots initiative in its campaign to elect John Kerry. The ads that made up the 10 Weeks campaign included the work of notable American film directors and actors including: Matt Damon, Rob Reiner, Richard Linklater, Martin Sheen, Margaret Cho, Darren Aronofsky, Moby, John Sayles and many others. Scarlett Johansson was also involved with the campaign.
A comely cartoon stewardess, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, lights the cigar of a nervous businessman, read by Kevin Bacon. “How’s the reconstruction going?” he’s asked. “Great,” he replies, “I mean profitable. Very profitable.” As a plane full of businessmen strap on parachutes, grabbing their briefcases and guns, the announcer asks: “What if the same men who profited from the war had to fight it?” This anti-Bush ad was available as a download at the MoveOn site in the week of 13th September 2004.
Global Campaign for Education (2003)
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), founded in 1999, brings together major NGOs and teachers’ unions in more than 150 countries around the world to promote education as a basic human right and mobilize public pressure on governments and the international community to fulfill their promises to provide free, compulsory basic education for all people. The U.S. Chapter of the Global Campaign for Education is a broad-based coalition of more than 30 non-governmental and religious organizations, teachers unions, foundations and child advocates to promote the cause of universal basic education in the world’s poorest nations.
Scarlett has shown her support for the cause by being involved in an ad campaign. Her poster reads:
“I’m not a statistician, but it doesn’t take a genious to work out that 100 million children being denied an education is ridiculous. There is nothing lost in translation here, it’s obvious that’s wrong.