Jolie thanks Tanzania for longstanding support to refugees

News Stories, 2 April 2003

© UNHCR/N.Behring
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie travelling by truck with separated refugee children from Kigoma to Lugufu camp in Tanzania.

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, April 2 (UNHCR) Oscar award-winning actress Angelina Jolie has travelled the world both for location shoots and in her capacity as Goodwill Ambassador for the UN refugee agency. But there was one journey she had not experienced until recently.

Last Thursday, Jolie embarked on a six-day mission to Tanzania her second to the country and travelled to the western border camps for a first-hand look at UNHCR's operations in the area. She followed a group of 91 separated children who had just arrived from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), seeing them through their registration at Kigoma town, and joining them on a bumpy ride to Lugufu camp, where they received non-food relief items.

Jolie shared their experience by helping them build their huts on a newly allocated site at Lugufu, and joining them for a briefing on the camp's routine and activities.

Lugufu camp hosts some 85,000 Congolese refugees. With more people still fleeing fighting in eastern DRC, Tanzanian authorities have recently given UNHCR permission to receive an additional 4,000 refugees in Lugufu II.

"Personally and on behalf of UNHCR, I want to thank the Tanzanian people and their government for keeping the borders open over the years," said the Goodwill Ambassador. "Their continued understanding and generosity have helped to keep many families alive."

At Lugufu, Jolie also joined the refugee children in games organised by Right to Play, a sports development group that aims to use sports and play as a means of promoting education, health, conflict resolution and child development in refugee camps.

Before leaving Tanzania on Tuesday, she donated $50,000 to Kurasini orphanage in the capital, Dar es Salaam. UNHCR had put her in touch with the government-funded orphanage, which had on some occasions accepted refugee children who lost their parents to AIDS.

Jolie's contribution will be used to educate the 92 children currently living in the institution. The donation will also help fund an HIV/AIDS awareness programme and a reproductive health programme for the teenagers in Kurasini orphanage.