Stars who give back to society

In today’s progressive world, celebrities — by virtue of their star-power — play a vital role in spreading awareness on environmental and humanitarian issues around the world. Actors, across countries and cultures, have been diligently making a difference in several lives beyond their professional capacity.

Actress and singer Priyanka Chopra has been globe-trotting for all the right reasons. As the Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights, Chopra’s recent visit to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, which houses one of the largest refugee camps for Rohingya in the world, was one of the stops as she journeyed through the borders of Myanmar in May.

Priyanka Chopra meets Rohingya refugees in Dhaka.

The international star has been actively involved with Unicef in changing the lives of women and children in the North East region of India, where majority of the population is displaced, malnourished and lack education.

During her four-day visit, she called for extended support for the affected families.

During this month of giving in Ramadan, we take a look at some of the celebrities who generously give back to society.

Ashton Kutcher

The celebrated actor who has starred in some huge hits such as Jobs, is currently not taking up any film assignments and is concentrating on his non-profit organisation, Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, that fights human trafficking. After saving over 6,000 children from child trafficking, he recently donated $4 million (Dh14.6 million) to TV host Ellen DeGeneres’s organisation, the largest amount she’s ever received.

Naomi Campbell

With over 30 years in the industry, Naomi Campbell set up her organisation Fashion For Relief in 2005. The renowned model and actress is supported by celebrities including Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Will. I. Am, Leonardo DiCaprio among many others. The who’s who of the entertainment industry walk the ramp dressed in items donated by the world’s best known fashion brands, followed by an auction with the proceeds going to support humanitarian causes and victims of natural disasters. Campbell hosted this year’s Fashion for Relief show during the Cannes Film Festival in May.


Is there any reason to not love the singer-rapper? Drake released his highly-budgeted single, God’s Plan, in January which continues to top charts around the world. He distributed $1 million of the proceeds to fund people’s groceries, to a student for tuitions and helping impoverished families.

Angelina Jolie

The Hollywood star’s contribution and efforts as Unhcr’s Goodwill ambassador has been enormously commendable. Appointed Special Envoy in 2012, Jolie focuses on crises resulting in displacement issues and also represents the Unhcr at the diplomatic level. Carrying out over 60 field missions, the mother of six continues to draw attention to issues which may be overlooked by the mainstream press.

Ian Somerhalder — Nikki Reed

Actor and humanitarian, Ian Somerhalder and his actress wife Nikki Reed share their passion for animals, youth and environment through the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. A combined effort, the couple has conducted animal rescue programmes, and also mentored disadvantaged youth. Ian is also an UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador.

Anushka Sharma

It’s no surprise that actress and producer Anushka Sharma is an ardent pet lover. On her 30th birthday, the star took to Twitter and announced her dream-project to set up an animal shelter on the outskirts of Mumbai. A venture close to her heart, she wishes to support her ‘fellow beings’ who are often stranded and left to fend for themselves. Sharma is supported by her husband and cricketer, Virat Kohli.

Aamir Khan

The actor, along with the team of his TV show, Satyamev Jayate, set up the non-profit organisation Paani Foundation in 2016 to fight drought in rural areas of Maharashtra in India. Citizens are trained in the various techniques of scientific watershed management as well as leadership and community building skills. He’s also used his influenceto garner the support of actors including Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, who are volunteers of this project.


— Simran Kanal is an intern at Gulf News.