Evanna casts her spell for UNICEF
HARRY Potter actress Evanna Lynch has been inspired by stories of despair and hope following a life-changing visit to the Phillippines.
The former Greenhills College girl vaccinated newborn babies and distributed schoolbags as part of a visit to the country with the European Union and UNICEF Ireland to meet children whose lives were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan last November.
The visit launches a new online campaign to raise the voices of children in emergencies, childrensvoices.ie
"I was so inspired by the young people I met in the Philippines who survived typhoon Haiyan," said Evanna.
"I heard their stories and was invited into their homes and was witness to the fact that they lost everything in the typhoon – their homes, possessions, livelihood and indeed many family members and friends.
"And yet, in the face of this tragedy they are still so full of hope and determination to make something of their lives, to finish their education and make their own contributions to the world. There was no anger, bitterness or fear there, just love and gratitude for what they had and hope for what lay ahead of them. UNICEF and the European Union have helped in this process of repairing their spirits and rediscovering their dreams by repairing their classrooms, providing school bags and supplies to help get children back to school.
'I experienced first-hand how simple it is to give a newborn baby a couple of drops of polio vaccine that will protect them for life. But I also visited a hospital ward where I saw how, without early interventions and help for struggling families, small children can end up malnourished and sick from preventable diseases. There's so much we can do for these children that is doable.'
She added: 'It's been a life-changing experience for me to meet and hear these people speak and I just want to help make their stories heard.'