Spanish actress Elena Anaya is a well-known face in cinema and has been a supporter of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency since 2012. During her 20-year career, she has worked alongside many outstanding talents, including Pedro Almodóvar, Antonio Banderas, Paz Vega, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore, to name but a few.
Elena began her collaboration with UNHCR supporting fundraising and awareness-raising campaigns. In 2012 she travelled to the Dollo Ado and Assosa settlements in Ethiopia - together with Spanish scriptwriter and film director Fernando León de Aranoa - where they met with Somalian and Sudanese refugees. They later shared the experience in Welcome To My Country, a documentary and a short video that have proven to be highly valuable awareness tools for UNHCR to show the world the challenges refugees are trying to overcome, and the need for support.
“Watching through my own eyes the many shortages and needs that refugees are facing, it really meant a lot to me to hear them talk, and being witness to the tremendous impact that humanitarian aid has over their lives”, said Elena upon her return.
In October 2014, Elena met with the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award winner, “Mariposas de Alas Nuevas”, an all-women protection network in Colombia whose aim is to support female survivors of gender related violence and displacement in the country. Since then, Elena has regularly supported UNHCR events and advocacy efforts, including World Refugee Day and the #WithRefugees campaign. In 2019, Elena met with politicians and UNHCR representatives, and participated in a seminar ahead of the EU elections to advocate for refugee rights.