Charlize Theron was a welcomed figure at the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the opening of the City of Joy. The center serves women survivors of gender violence in Bukavu, and was established by V-Day and the Foundation Panzi, with support from UNICEF. Photo/Paula Allen
I do admire strong women. As a little girl, my eyes would sparkle with joy when the female hero would overcome those who tried to hurt her (who doesn't love Mulan?). Growing up, my dreams often depicted me defeating 'bad people' through wild and fantastic adventures - just like the movies. Today, I know that defeating “bad people” requires a voice that speaks for those in need; a hand that is eager to help; and a heart that feels their struggle.
Charlize Theron, an on-screen maven of 'beating the bad guys,' has taken on some inspiring roles in her career, but none more powerful than her humanitarian efforts in Africa. In 2007, She founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project to prevent the spread of HIV amongst African youths. In 2008, Theron became a United Nations Messenger of Peace, focusing on HIV prevention and the elimination of violence against women. The South-African native actress was part of the South African campaigns fighting violence against women and was the voice for the Rape Crisis Center in Cape Town. She also donated an autographed a pair of shoes (that she helped design) to the Stuart Weitzman charity shoe auction benefiting ovarian cancer awareness and research.
Charlize Theron with one of the patients in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The hospital specializes in treating victims of sexual violence against women. UN Photo/Marie Frechon
Not everyone has the social platform or the financial means that Charlize Theron has been blessed with, and the thought of trying to help in the face of such an "endless" need can be debilitating. But, I implore you, don't let this paralyze you. The truth is we can all help someone. And we can all come together, with one voice, and with one heart to fight.
Charlize is an amazing example of a powerful woman leveraging her position to make the best impact she can. Join the fight against human trafficking by getting involved with advocacy groups, making donations (of time/money), or by supporting the trades of rescued women.