Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on January 17, 2008
Orlando Bloom… a dashing young movie star with truckloads of talent, legions of fans and enough dosh to satiate his every whim… who gives back? What a concept. (Lindsay, feel free to take notes.) Seems this compassionate A-lister recently embarked on a four-day UNICEF sponsored tour of Nepal where he visited various program sites in western districts Kaski and Chitwan.
In Kalinka, Bloom was warmly welcomed by villagers, where — despite the country’s dire poverty — promising signs abound. Village facilitator Chali Subedi explained that “six years ago only 84 percent of school-going-age children were enrolled in school. Now every boy and girl goes to school. Previously only 25 percent of the households were taking iodized salt [to prevent iodine deficiency disorders]. The figure now has increased to 38 per cent. Similarly women’s workload has decreased from 17 hours per day to 14 hours a day.” Encouraging stuff.
In Pokhara, at the base of the Himalayas and base camp of the grueling Annapurna circuit (I know this firsthand because I’ve hiked it), Bloom played with over three dozen blind boys and girls. He even had “a small role in a mini-drama the children were recording that day for the UNICEF-supported radio program about the plight of a group of girls at a hostel left to fend for themselves. Reading from the script, Bloom said, “Talk about your problems. There’s no need to feel shy. It’s always good to talk about issues that concern you.”
Not as big as his role in Pirates of the Caribbean — but equally as rewarding, I’m sure.
In an age where daily headlines scream of young Hollywood’s solipsism, it’s refreshing to hear of a young Britain doing something charitable instead.