British Hollywood actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw was announced as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency, in February 2021.
Supporting us since 2018, Gugu has visited both Rwanda, Uganda and most recently she has followed the story of Congolese Françoise in the Netherlands, followed by a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2022 to witness the devasting impact of underfunding on displaced people and the heart breaking choices it forces them, and UNHCR, to make. In Rwanda she visited camps, and met women involved with livelihood projects and in Uganda she spent time with refugee women who had survived sexual violence and a youth settlement community living with albinism. Gugu has written about her experience with UNHCR in outlets such as Refinery29 and Vogue, and has also been a big supporter of MADE51, a programme that empowers refugee artisans by helping them to sell their products globally.
More recently, Gugu has amplified the call for global vaccine equity. In 2020, she contributed to our widely shared COVID-19 awareness appeal on her social media channels and, in collaboration with IMDB, Gugu shared with us her three Films of Hope and highlighted the need for kindness, global solidarity and action, to fight COVID-19. In November 2021, she co-authored a piece with Anuradha Gupta, deputy CEO of GAVI (The Global Vaccine Alliance), emphasising the need for the global vaccination roll-out to include refugees. Published in ELLE, this important editorial underlines that as economies recover and social life begins to normalise in wealthier countries, refugees and displaced people remain severely under-protected.
In 2022 Gugu travelled to the Netherlands to reunite with Françoise, a refugee who had fled from the DRC and whom she met in Uganda. Françoise had believed her parents were killed in the DRC and had only recently discovered they were alive and living in the Netherlands. She was finally resettled there in July 2022. Meeting them again for the first time in decades was an incredibly moving moment and Gugu was there to see how she was settling in.
Fundraising and Advocacy
Gugu has spoken out at various fundraising and advocacy events globally in Los Angeles, London, UK and South Africa.
Over the past 3 years, Gugu has consistently supported UNHCR campaigns on her social media channels. Gugu took part in the EveryOneCounts campaign in 2019, appearing alongside other UNHCR High Profile Supporters and Goodwill Ambassadors in a powerful multi-voice video to challenge xenophobia. More recently in 2020, Gugu contributed to our widely shared COVID-19 awareness appeal on her social media channels. In collaboration with IMDb, Gugu shared with us her three Films of Hope that inspire hope and highlighted the need for kindness, global solidarity and action, to fight Covid-19.
Gugu is known for her award-winning role in Belle, Beyond the Lights and Black Mirror San Junipero and most recently Loki, Surface, The Morning Show, Misbehaviour and Summerland.