Hollywood golden couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have pledged $1 million to help children caught up in the Iraq conflict.
The stars are using their Jolie-Pitt Foundation to make the contribution supporting the education of 8,000 youngsters from both Iraq and the US.
Angelina has already visited Iraq twice in the past year seeing for herself the devastating consequences of conflict on children.
The 33-year-old actress said, “These educational support programs for children of conflict are the best way to help them heal.”
The couple are now hoping others will also step forward and donate. Brad, 44, said: “We hope to encourage others to give to these great organizations.”
The donation will be shared by four organizations, which work to provide education and support to children who have lost parents, homes and schooling opportunities in Iraq as well as young people in the United States coping with the long deployment, injury or even death of a parent serving in the US Armed Services.
Gene Sperling, co-chairman of the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which made public the donation, said: “Education often falls through the cracks for children of conflict but it is what can be most effective for providing hope about the future for children who have already been through tragedy or trauma.”
The donation will be divided equally so both children in Iraq and in the US benefit from the couple’s generosity.
In America, the cash will go to the Armed Services YMCA Operation Hero Program, offering counseling and support for children separated from their parents involved in the conflict.
Admiral Frank Gallo, national executive director of the Armed Services YMCA, said: “The contribution from the Jolie-Pitt Foundation is a major boost to our efforts to serve the children of our brave members of the United States Armed Services who are engaged in our current conflict.
“These new funds will mean that 2,500 children, who were previously unable to attend Operation Hero, can now take part and get the educational support and counseling that they need and deserve.”
While in Iraq, the money will go to three separate organizations: Women for Women International sponsoring 300 Iraqi women and up to 1,200 children, the International Rescue Committee to support school rehabilitation and NineMillion.org/UNHCR to make uniforms, school supplies, and learning materials available to more than 2,000 Iraqi children.