Angelina Jolie on pandemic: 'Time for outrage, grand change across the world'
ARIZONA, United States – Hollywood star and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) special envoy Angelina Jolie said now is the “time for grand change” globally, as she called for the protection of children amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jolie said the virus has shown “the cracks in our systems across the world,” especially in terms of children’s protection.
Even before the pandemic, 258 million children were out of school. Now, this number has risen to 1.5 million.
“Before the virus, we had so many children in need across the world…. So we had a crisis bigger than we could manage long before and now this. The World Food Program [was] speaking about possibly a famine of biblical proportions. Having been in the field, seeing how these people exist, how they depend daily moment to moment to survive, I understand how just a little pull in fabric [can make] things fall apart,” Jolie said on Thursday during the virtual summit TIME 100 Talks: Finding Hope.
“This is a time for outrage, for grand change across the world."
With the closure of schools, Jolie said many children are stuck at home without the basic necessities and with their abusers. In the US alone, at least 11 million children face severe food insecurity, with many depending on nutrition provided by schools.
Jolie said schools are more than just a place to study, as they are often places of refuge for kids.
“It is a place where you can temporarily get away from violence but it’s also a place for the bruises to be noticed, for child maltreatment to be witnessed…. Within the home can be the most dangerous place in the world for many people.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also earlier called on families and global leaders to "protect our children," who stand to suffer severe consequences of the pandemic even if they are at lower risk.
Amid the outbreak, Jolie said thousands of her colleagues from the UNHCR continue to work on the front lines in refugee camps. While there is no outbreak in these camps yet, there is fear that it will “spread far and fast.”
“This is really a frightening time,” she said.
Despite this new reality, Jolie said there is still hope for humanity.
“I believe in humanity. I have hope. And I think we really can’t afford not to have hope. I think when people are aware, and if they can have a path forward guiding them with how to help and what to do, they will.” – Rappler.com