Actress Angelina Jolie is in Iraq meeting with leaders about the plight of an estimated 50,000 refugees who fled to escape the violence in Syria in her role as a special envoy for the U.N.'s refugee agency.
A government statement said Jolie on Saturday urged Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari to ensure the refugees have enough supplies to meet all their daily needs.
Zebari said an estimated 21,000 Syrian refugees are living in Iraq's western Anbar and Dohuk provinces. Another 31,000 Iraqis who years ago fled to Syria to escape sectarian fighting in their homeland have returned, he said.
Jolie also recently visited refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan to highlight suffering and the need for international humanitarian assistance.
While at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan on Tuesday, Jolie, who is herself raising six children with her partner Brad Pitt, spoke of the horrors that children, many of them orphans, have witnessed in Syria.
"I am grateful to Jordan and the border countries for saving the lives (of those) who are dying in Syria. It's an extraordinary thing. We encourage the international community to support the people here until one day they go back home," she said
It was a rare visit to Iraq by a movie star, but Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are unique:
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie continue to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to charity. Their Jolie Pitt Foundation’s 2010 tax filing just became available. Of the over $2.3 million they gave away in 2010, $1 million went to Doctors without Borders treating patients in Haiti. But sometimes it’s the little things that count, too. Brad paid $3,000 toward a funeral for beloved New Orleans civic leader and his friend, Pamela Dashiell, who died unexpectedly at age 61 in December 2009. Dashiell had been a leader in New Orleans’s famous Lower 9th Ward where the most damage occurred from Hurricane Katrina. Big donations are wonderful, but something like that kind of breaks your heart.
The Jolie Pitt Foundation is also kind of a template for smart giving. For example, under a micro financing plan they loaned 201 needy Cambodians $21,000 for small businesses to purchase crop seeds and agricultural tools– a similar program to Kiva.org. All the money has been paid back.
Their largest expenditures went to SOS Childrens Villages ($250,000) and to other children’s causes around the world. But they also donated $200,000 to Drury University in Springfield, Missouri – Brad’s hometown – and $15,000 to Operation Blankets of Love in Granada Hills, California–they help rescue pets and abandoned animals.
Worth noting that the Jolie-Pitts donations repesented 25% of their assets, which is highly generous.