They are actors, politicians and every day citizens. How can these women solve the world’s problems when there is so much to do already? They may not know each other in their professional or personal circles, but these ladies are making a dent in many problems that plague society. These game-changers are tackling AIDS, poverty, education, violence and other issues that impact us today. We hope that their good deeds will inspire you. You might not have the clout, money or the connections and that is fine. You can take part in making a difference today in someone’s life by doing the small things in your own community. This all plays into the bigger picture. In a time where we see celebrities serving themselves, allow this article to be a reminder that not all stars are the same and not all people are selfish. People like Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Dr. Jill Biden, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Garner, Emma Watson, Salma Hayek, Sheryl Sandberg and Katherine Johnson are all fighting for a brighter future. These 8 women are making a difference and changing the world. Allow their stories to change you.
Queen Rania Al Abdullah
The world’s refugee crisis from war-torn Syria is not going away and Queen Rania Al Abdullah is calling on nations to join together since traditional means (humanitarian aid) of taking care of the problem is not working. Her country is hosting millions of refugees and asked for the world to step up. “We do need assistance from the international community. Jordan is a small country that's quite resource poor, so it's really been a major issue for us,” Queen Rania said on “Good Morning America.” The monarch is actively involved in the international community to bring more awareness to the issue impacting millions by going on television and doing work with the United Nations Children's Fund. She also started the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development to improve opportunities for children in Jordan.
Dr. Jill Biden
As the Second Lady of the U.S., Dr. Jill Biden brought attention the sacrifices that our military families make on a daily basis. She started the Joining Forces initiative to encourage Americans to take action and to find ways to support and engage our military families in their own communities. Another aspect of the challenge is to ensure that service members and their families have the tools to successfully transition and lead successful lives. As a military mom and a lifelong educator, Biden has worked to bring awareness on how community colleges are important not only to the military, but to help people receive the training that they need to have in the workplace today.
Actress Charlize Theron started the Africa Outreach Project, which has invested in African youths since 2007. The organization provides support for organizations to help children to remain safe from HIV/AIDS, a disease that has killed over 30 million people. They target kids through education, counseling, health care and encourage safe behaviors (refraining from unprotected sex). Theron believes that AIDS no longer needs to be a death sentence. “There needs to be investment in educating people as adolescents when they're still HIV negative,” she said.
Jennifer Garner is a mother of 3 and works as an advocate for Save the Children by offering early childhood education to break the cycle of poverty. The actress joined the Board of Trustees at Save the Children to solidify her commitment. "Advocating, to me, is one of the most important actions we can undertake," she said. Save the Children launched the Children’s Early Steps to School Success program in an effort to assist babies and children with language, social and emotional development. They also help parents by giving them the knowledge to support their kid’s growth through workshops. Garner is from West Virginia where generational poverty is severe and she frequents the area to offer assistance.
British actress Emma Watson is as U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador and an advocate for the HeForShe campaign, a program based through the U.N. to end gender inequality. She offered insight on how men have preconceived ideas and their actions towards women are degrading. Watson wants males to see their wives, sisters and daughters free from prejudice and bias. “I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.” Engaging boys while they’re young on gender roles can turn the tide on inequality.
A strong advocate for refugees, Salma Hayek, was taught to treat everyone with love and respect. Hayek, 50, travels with UNICEF to help children driven out from their land due to violence in the Syrian conflict. “I plead to everyone who is grateful for the peace and stability in their lives to show compassion for those who have lost it all and to help,” the actress pleaded. She and singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter are the co-founders of Chime for Change. The campaign raises funds to bring awareness for girls around the world to promote education, justice and health. Recently Hayek started sponsoring a small orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico as well.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg started Lean In, a nonprofit organization and online community dedicated in helping all women achieve their career goals. Sandberg is offering women support in the workplace and is working to help them reach their potential by using education. The organization offers free lectures online in communication, work relationships and technology. They offer ways women can connect in the community through a network of social circles locally to exchange ideas. We need to advocate for women and “help their ideas to be heard,” the site explained.
She is called the human computer. Renowned mathematician, Katherine Johnson, was the first African American to desegregate her graduate school. She made remarkable contributions to the United States' aeronautics and space programs. It was Johnson who calculated the trajectory path that sent astronaut Alan Shepard to space and back to earth safely. Johnson wants every girl to know that they can follow their dreams even if it is counting. “I counted everything. I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed, anything that could be counted, I did,” said Johnson, who is the recipient of the National Medal of Freedom in 2015.
No matter where you come from you can make an impact on others by looking beyond your life circle. We can observe some of our celebrities who took the time to reach out and who are seeing change take place. Women like Jordan Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Jennifer Garner, Emma Watson, Katherine Johnson, Sheryl Sandberg, Dr. Jill Biden, Sheryl Sandberg and Salma Hayek all demonstrated a passion to help others—a trait that all of us share. We don’t need fame or fortune to contribute to the human spirit and to support humanity.