Australian actress Isla Fisher and her comedian husband Sacha Baron Cohen just donated more than one million dollars to help Syrian refugees.
The couple split $US1 million, which is roughly $A1.38 million, between two charities that are helping Syrians trying to survive in their war-torn homeland, and those who ultimately are forced to flee.
News of the donation was announced by Save the Children over the Christmas long weekend.
“The Syrian conflict is now approaching its fifth year and children are the first victims. There is no safe place left in Syria, with shelling and violence omnipresent. Food and medicines have become scarce and basic necessities unaffordable,” Save the Children CEO Justin Forsyth said announcing the donation.
Save the Children will use their share of the money to vaccinate 250,000 children in northern Syria against the threat of a measles outbreak.
The charity says the disease has become a serious problem.
“Syria’s health system has collapsed and deadly childhood diseases – like measles – which had previously been all but eradicated have now returned, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of children,” Forsyth said.
The couple, who have three children of their own, made the donation public to highlight suffering in Syria, where it is estimated that 12,000 children have been killed in the conflict – although the real number could be far higher.
“Now is the time for all of us to double down on commitments to civilians caught up in the Syria conflict. These people are the victims of terror,” David Milliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said.
“As hope for the end of conflict recedes, it is all the more important to meet the most basic human needs. Sacha and Isla’s donation is a great expression of humanity, and a challenge to do more for the most vulnerable.
“I hope it is an example to many others seeking practical ways of making a difference during the Christmas and New Year season.”
The money given to the IRC will be spent on education, healthcare, shelter and sanitation for families displaced by the conflict – both within Syria and in neighbouring countries.
There are now over seven million internally displaced people in Syria, and a further four million in bordering countries.