It's no secret that we're big Buffy fans here at C&L, and one of my favorite characters is bad-girl vampire slayer Faith, played by actress Eliza Dushku. She's turning 30 this year, and she's using the occasion for a very special fundraising effort. In a time when most actresses seem obsessed with plastic surgery, high fashion and Botox, it's nice to know there's one who's beautiful on the inside, in the best possible way. If you can, please contribute.
Eliza Dushku recently got in touch with Tonic to tell us what she wants for her 30th birthday on Dec. 30. Er, actually she told us what she doesn't want —anything. Instead, she's asking everyone to join her 30/30/30 goal to raise the $30,000 it will take to acquire the land to build a comprehensive recovery center for former child soldiers in Gulu, Uganda.
You see, the fact that Duskhu's mother has been an African politics professor for more than 40 years is more than a bit of Hollywood trivia — it colors how Dushku sees the world."As my mother's daughter, and turning 30, I'm realizing how many stories I want to tell about the people of the world. I'm an internationalist at heart," she tells Tonic.
At this turning point in her life, she wants to help children affected by Uganda's civil war. She's counting on your help to do so.
Mentioning her young niece and nephew, she says, "Think of these kids being forced to become killers. I can't imagine anything more horrifying."Constructing and running the rehabilitation center is the mission of THARCE-Gulu (Trauma Healing and Reflection Center), the nonprofit organization her mom, Judith Dushku of Boston's Suffolk University, recently founded with colleagues on the ground in Uganda. It will focus mainly on women and their children who are still recovering from abduction and sex slavery suffered during Uganda's civil war.
The idea was sparked in July 2009, when Dushku went to Gulu with her mother, her boyfriend, Rick Fox, and a group of students on a trip focused on the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of former child soldiers and other victims of war. "Kids are still coming out of the bush, "she says, "after being grabbed out of bed in the middle of the night and handed an AK-47."
She can't forget the people she met, including a group of teenagers who had been soldiers and a woman who had been forced into sex slavery and now runs a successful bead business. She also can't shake the things she saw, like the wheelchair basketball game among people who lost legs in the war and the practice of putting a boy whose family was killed and the boy who killed them on the same sports team.
What especially touched her, she says, is "what you learn about forgiveness. We get so resentful and we hold grudges over so many trivial things here. To be able to forgive someone who macheted your entire family and to live as neighbors, that's amazing."
THARCE-Gulu's blueprints are drawn up. The team is in place. The curriculum, which includes film-making, music and art therapy workshops, is planned. Now all that's needed is a building and the plot of land to put it on. Please spread the word and, if you can, donate to wish Eliza a happy birthday.You can also learn more about THARCE-Gulu at its website here.