Carey Mulligan describes her trip through the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo and the inspiring children she met along the way.
In October I traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo as a global ambassador for War Child UK, a worldwide network of humanitarian organizations focusing on children traumatized by war. Abandoned half-built buildings, abandoned half-destroyed buildings, and slums form the bulk of the cityscape of Goma, on the border with Rwanda. Nothing works. Corruption, power outages, and impassable roads—and the palpable threat of chaos—are part of daily life. One in ten children born today in the DRC won’t live to see a fifth birthday. Since the outbreak of fighting in 1998, 5.4 million people have died there.
Within these dire conditions I saw the extraordinary work of War Child and met children who, despite every element working against them, astonished me with their warmth, intelligence, determination, and desire to build a better life. I met Grace, a thirteen-year-old orphan with cerebral palsy who, having been abandoned by her stepmother, was found on the streets by a kind stranger who called the War Child help line. Children who have been forced to carry weapons as child soldiers, who have lost everyone they love, or who have been victims of sexual violence can call this number and get referrals and counsel from trained social workers. Through counseling sessions, Grace’s stepmother was encouraged to care for her again—but just a few months after their reconciliation, Grace stepped on a rusty nail and, because of the almost completely defunct health-care system in the DRC, was hospitalized only after it was too late to save her leg.
Along with a team from War Child, I walked into a dark hospital room with four other beds, shook Grace’s hand, and sat by her side. We talked to her about her life before the accident; about going to school. Her eyes lit up when she showed me the two scrappy school textbooks that were her most prized possessions—she told me she loved to read, and that she wanted more than anything to continue her education. The stench of the place was overwhelming; my jeans quickly became wet with the urine that soaked Grace’s mattress. As we talked, a brusque doctor thrust a hospital bill for $2,000 (and counting) into my hands and said that Grace wouldn’t be allowed to leave until it was paid. Grace’s stepmother—haunted, drawn, incapable of communicating—simply wept. She told me that even if the bill was paid, they would have nowhere to go.
Within weeks, a plan developed by War Child began to unfold. Grace’s hospital bills were negotiated down in partnership with the local government and will be paid by War Child, which is also in talks with other local agencies specializing in children with disabilities, so that when she left the hospital she was able to receive the specialist care she needs. Grace is a very smart girl, and once she has recovered she’ll be given help to get back into school to finish her education. In short, thanks to War Child, Grace—along with thousands of other children in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Gaza, Jordan, and Uganda—will have the chance of a future again.
For children who live with trauma, fear, and grief amidst wars they should have no part of, War Child is there to give them comfort, tell them they are not alone, remind them that there are people around the world who care about them and will do everything they can to keep them safe.?
Last weekend was the 10th Anniversary Winter Weekend held by ASMALLWORLD in Switzerland. Carey was in attendance to support War Child, and HQ images of her from the three main events over the weekend have now been added to the gallery. I’ve also added some HQ stills from Carey’s appearance on The Graham Norton Show from January of this year.
A host of presenters, TV specials and music will make up this year’s Text Santa on ITV.
Ant & Dec, Phillip Schofield & Christine Bleakley and Alesha Dixon & Paddy McGuinness will take on presenting duties.
Meanwhile, the likes of Simon Cowell, Carey Mulligan, Brenda Blethyn and the cast of Coronation Street will also be taking part.
George Clooney will be making a special appearance in Downton Abbey, who will also be hosting Mr Selfridge, Jeremy Piven.
The charity telethon is to raise money for six UK-based charities – this year’s chosen recipients are Teenage Cancer Trust, Guide Dogs, WellChild, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Alzheimer’s Society and Together for Short Lives.
Text Santa’s three-hour charity fundraiser will be shown on Friday, December 19 starting at 8pm.
On November 30, Carey Mulligan attended the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, where her play Skylight won the award for Best Revival. Congratulations to the cast and crew! HQ images from the event, and also from the Hennessy Gold Cup Race Day which took place the day before, are now up in the gallery. Thanks to Lindsey for her donations!
Public Appearances > 2014 > Nov 29 | Hennessy Gold Cup Race Day
Public Appearances > 2014 > Nov 30 | 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Carey Mulligan and her husband Marcus Mumford called on the help of famous friends for a star-studded evening of entertainment that raised more than £300,000 for War Child.
The couple plan to host the event every year, although Mulligan said that she would never be tempted to join the Mumford & Sons frontman on stage in a singalong.
The War Child Winter Wassail at the LSO St Luke’s was four months in the planning, with Mulligan dedicating herself to the cause during a six-month break from acting.
Michael Sheen kicked off proceedings by reading some Dylan Thomas, with other readings from Mulligan, Jeremy Irvine, Ben Whishaw and Helena Bonham Carter. Mumford performed with a supergroup made up of members of Mumford & Sons, The National, Keane and Noah And The Whale. Also on the bill were Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sandé, the London African Gospel choir and Cristina Fray, star of Matilda The Musical.
Mulligan told the Standard: “We started by asking our friends and once The National were on board everyone else said yes straight away as they wanted to see them. It was like a variety show — it was unbelievable. This is something we want to do annually.”
Mulligan become an ambassador for War Child after being introduced to it by her brother Owain, who is an Army captain. She said: “Children are children, no matter where they are in the world, and they should have no place in war.”
The first teaser trailer for Far From the Madding Crowd has arrived online, and you can watch it in full below.
Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching wilfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance. In UK cinemas 2015.