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Actor Djimon Hounsou was born in Benin. At the age of 13 he moved to France to receive a better education and was discovered by French fashion designer Thierry Mugler. Djimon has gone on to carve out a successful career as a model and actor. A powerful voice against poverty and injustice, he is a staunch supporter of Oxfam's work.
Talking about his philanthropic work in Africa, Djimon said: “I came across this amazing quote that says we should all be ashamed to die unless we’ve made a major contribution to society. I am the son of the continent and it’s my obligation to care for my own people.”
In December 2016, Djimon travelled to North East Nigeria to meet with people who have been affected by the conflict involving the Boko Haram group and the military operations to counter them.
He said: “I have made it my goal to bring the story of these people who are caught up in the conflict to the world and shine a light on the issues they are facing. I have listened to so many stories and I have met with people who make tremendous efforts to give support to their neighbours. It is beautiful to see how people have unconditionally opened their doors to the people who have fled their homes. It's my obligation to help make sure people who are caught up in this crisis get their basic needs fulfilled - such as water, food and sanitation.”
Djimon has been supporting Oxfam for more than 10 years. During that time he travelled to Mali for Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign where he met cotton farmers who were suffering because of plummeting prices, and saw how US subsidies adversely affect Africa.
Following his trip, Djimon became a determined and vocal campaigner. He spoke at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia and went on to lobby world leaders at the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles.
Although G8 leaders made important progress on aid and debt cancellation, the outcome fell short of the hopes of Djimon and the millions around the world campaigning for a momentous breakthrough, especially on trade issues. Djimon returned to the US to support Oxfam America's work on Farm Bill Legislation, campaigning against US subsidies that hurt farmers in poor countries.
Djimon also campaigned with Oxfam in the fight against climate change. In 2009, he opened the UN General Assembly meeting on Climate Change in New York with a compelling speech about the impact of climate change on developing nations.
Oscar-nominated for his roles in Blood Diamond (2006) and In America (2002), Djimon has supported a variety of fundraising activities for Oxfam, including donating tickets to the premiere of his movie Push for an Oxfam America e-bay auction.