Oscar-winning actor and writer Emma Thompson has been an ActionAid Ambassador since 2002, and has travelled to many different countries to see the difference ActionAid is making to the lives of women and girls. She has also supported our campaigns on women’s rights and HIV/AIDS.
“I have met a lot of inspirational people and thought: they don’t need us to tell them what to do, but they do need our support,” Emma says. “Frankly, working with ActionAid has been one of the most inspiring, thrilling gifts of my life.”
Actor, comedian and ActionAid Ambassador Hugh Dennis has supported us ever since he got his first paycheck over 30 years ago. He visited Myanmar in 2014 where he saw how child sponsorship is helping transform an entire community. He has also raised money for ActionAid by taking part in RideLondon.
“Through ActionAid I’ve learned how simple things can transform a community,” says Hugh. “My support has helped pay for local schools so kids are educated for longer. It’s the incredibly simple things that can change lives for good.”
Jodie Whittaker, an actor and the first female Doctor Who, became an ActionAid Ambassador in 2013. She has sponsored children in Afghanistan ever since and has helped raise awareness of the benefits of child sponsorship. She has also been very supportive of our work ending violence against women and girls, helping to promote our Safe Cities campaign and attending the Survivors’ Runway fashion show.
“I have been a proud ActionAid supporter for the past five years and have been involved in lots of their amazing initiatives to shine a light on the many issues affecting women and girls across some of the poorest countries in the world,” Jodie says.
Actor James Purefoy has been supporting ActionAid for over 10 years. In his role as an Ambassador he has visited ActionAid’s work in South Africa, where we support young women at risk of violence. James also lived on just £1 a day for five days as part of our Live Below The Line Challenge.
“When I visited South Africa I saw the appalling conditions that some people are forced to live in. But I’ve also witnessed the difference that ActionAid makes, working with people to help them create brighter futures for themselves and break away from living in poverty,” James says.
Star of ITV’s Cold Feet, ActionAid Ambassador Fay Ripley has supported ActionAid since 2008 after she visited Tanzania to see the impact child sponsorship has on children’s education. She visited a school where ActionAid had built dormitories for girls who were at risk of abuse on their way to school, to keep them safe from harm and to ensure they got an education.
“Everything about that trip was memorable: from the warm welcome I received, to the incredible work ActionAid was achieving in the villages and schools that I visited,” Fay says. “I expected to weep tears of empathy, instead my tears were of admiration.”
Singer, Britain’s Got Talent judge and ActionAid Ambassador Alesha Dixon started supporting ActionAid in 2016 by joining our campaign to end FGM. In 2017, she travelled to Ghana to support our campaign to end child marriage. She met young girls who had been abducted and forced into marriage, and saw ActionAid’s work within the community to end this form of violence against girls.
“I was able to see for myself the work ActionAid is doing to help young girls escape from child marriage, by encouraging them to get back to school and regain hope for a better and brighter future,” says Alesha.
BAFTA Award-winning actor Wunmi Mosaku started supporting ActionAid in 2018. A strong advocate for women’s rights, Wunmi visited Ghana in March 2019 to meet with survivors of domestic violence and to learn about our work helping them to access the justice they deserve. Wunmi’s trip was also a personal journey into her family history.
“I met some incredible women and girls in Ghana, many of whom were victims of terrible violence. Their experiences struck a personal chord for me as I reflected on the story of my grandma — having grown up in Ghana, she fought back against a forced marriage on return to her homeland Nigeria. I want to help enable women and girls to understand their rights and speak out against violence like my grandma did. I can’t think of a better way to do that than shine a light on ActionAid UK’s life-changing work as a celebrity ambassador.”
Award-winning children’s author Giles Paley-Phillips has supported ActionAid since he saw our work on the refugee crisis in 2015. He ran the London Marathon for ActionAid in 2017 and supported our first Big Me event to raise money in schools.
For our No Girl Afraid Christmas campaign in 2017, Giles wrote ‘The Story of Hope’, to raise awareness of the experiences of girls in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Actor Sarah Alexander travelled to Sierra Leone in 2013 to see how ActionAid was helping to rebuild the country after its devastating civil war.
“I went to the Blamawo community in the east of Sierra Leone,” says Sarah. “ActionAid had provided water, a school and a medical centre. The children were happy and I could see so clearly how ActionAid’s support can dramatically change their lives.”
Stage and screen actor Miriam Margolyes has been supporting ActionAid for over 30 years. She visited our work in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2010.
“I’ve had the joy of sponsoring several children,” says Miriam. “A tiny offering from me has made an enormous impact on their life and mine.”
Singer-songwriter Lucy Rose has lent her support to ActionAid at both Reading and Latitude festivals. While touring in 2016 she took some time out to visit an ActionAid project in India to learn how we’re tackling gender inequality in communities.
“I love being a girl and am lucky enough to never have felt like my opportunities have been limited because of my gender,” says Lucy. “It was hugely empowering to see women stand up to everything tradition had taught them and show they wanted change.”
Actress Emilia Fox travelled to Ethiopia in 2015 to meet women and girls who are standing up for their rights: the right to education, the right to a life free from female genital mutilation and forced marriage, and the right to earn their own income.
“ActionAid’s projects are no quick fix. They are helping women and girls to help themselves – for them, their families and future generations,” Emilia says.
Actor Samantha Womack has been supporting ActionAid since 2012 following a trip to Myanmar where she visited rural communities to see the difference child sponsorship makes.
“Seeing first-hand how easy it would be to instigate change with ActionAid’s support, it makes it so exciting to think how the smallest amount of change here will unlock children’s futures,” says Sam.
Actor Andrea Riseborough is a dedicated supporter of our work on violence against women and girls. She attended the Survivors’ Runway fashion show, and took part a celebrity photo shoot in support of our #MyBodyIsMine campaign on International Women’s Day 2018.