Charity comes in more forms than the donation of money (which is, of course, always an incredible gesture). But it also comes in the form of using your voice to make change, despite the risk of backlash. It comes in the form of reaching out to those who are in need, and giving them the chance to have their own voice heard. It comes in the form of identifying a deep-set problem and endlessly speaking out to the masses to change damaging perspectives.
We’ve chosen a selection of three charitable people who worked hard to make a difference in 2018.
Jameela Jamil - the body confidence warrior
Jameela Jamil is an actress who has made her big TV break on ‘The Good Place’. But her true heroic work comes from her fearlessly outspoken campaign against unrealistic body expectations. She has come up against many high-profile celebrities such as the Kardashians who endorse harmful weight loss products such as diet teas. She strictly enforces that any media photo used of her is completely untouched and natural.
As a survivor of an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, Jameela started the “I Weigh” campaign". “I Weigh” helps people to see themselves as more than just a number on the scales, encouraging them to “weigh” themselves in terms of what makes them unique and what makes them proud.
Emma Gonzalez - the brave young voice of the anti-gun movement
Emma Gonzalez was a student at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida when a mass shooting broke out at the hands of a gunman. Emma was so infuriated by this unspeakable but very familiar crime that she used her voice to speak out directly against the president. She gave an incredible speech which moved the world, in which she called out the US government and the NRA for not doing enough to stop gun violence.
Emma and her passionate words followed on to the now iconic ‘March for our Lives’ march on Washington (and all over the world!). ‘March for our Lives’ was led by students who wanted to let the people in power know how tired they are of being scared in their schools, and how they mourn the needless deaths of their peers.
Emma’s contribution to the world is immense, as she shows the power and intelligence of the younger generation who are often wrongly labeled as “selfish and lazy”. She is a true activist for change and isn’t afraid to lend her voice to stand up to those in a far higher position of power than herself.
Bill and Melinda Gates - the endless givers
Before you roll your eyes and say “but they’re among the richest people in the entire world!’, take a moment to read what they have given. In 2017 they gave approximately $4.8 billion dollars (yup, billions) to various charitable causes, and the number grew into 2018.
When looking at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it’s mind boggling to see how many causes they have awarded grants to in 2018 alone. For example, almost $2million went to the ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Institute’, and almost $3.5million dollars to the ‘World Health Organization’ among hundreds and hundreds more. Bill and Melinda Gates are true examples of people who have a lot of money, but do the most that they can to use it responsibly and charitably. They use their privilege, wealth and position of power to make change and help those who need it most.
Our three choices for the charitable people of 2018 are very varied, and only one is based on the giving of money. This shows us that even if we have nothing financial to offer, we can still offer our voice, support and bravery. We can use social media and our connections with others to make ourselves heard and to make others feel heard too. Let’s make 2019 the year of charity, altruism, support and hope!