A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Mexican actor Gael García Bernal is well known for his social and political activism. An ardent supporter of Oxfam, he devotes a great deal of time and energy to campaigning and advocacy work.
The star of "Babel," "The Motorcycle Diaries", and “No”, Oxfam Global Ambassador and Hollywood actor Gael García Bernal visited Syrian refugees in Jordan in August 2013.
Calling on world leaders to resolve the Syrian Crisis
Bernal met a Syrian family living in a rented house after they had to flee their neighbourhood six months ago when it became a battle zone. He also visited a community of Syrian refugee families living in tents on a farm on the outskirts of Jordan’s capital, Amman. Oxfam is providing cash support, so they can buy items such as medicines, food, and clothes. Oxfam has also provided water filters.
The Mexican actor spent time with Syrian refugees volunteering with Oxfam distributing vouchers to families to buy hygiene items.
Bernal called on world leaders to find an urgent solution to the Syria crisis as the number of Syrian refugees is expected to reach the two-million mark and the campaign appeal is unfulfilled.
Lobbying to make trade fair
Bernal has supported Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign since 2005, when he had cotton dumped on him for a publicity campaign. That same year he took part in the massive anti-poverty rally in Edinburgh to tell G8 leaders to take action on aid, trade and debt.
In 2006, Gael visited peasant farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, with Oxfam. He learnt about the impact of free trade deals on local corn and coffee producers.
Gael then flew to Hong Kong to represent Oxfam at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) summit. The multi-lingual actor lobbied leaders, ministers and ambassadors from around the world. He also joined African singer Angelique Kidjo and Chinese rock star Anthony Wong to hand over Oxfam's Big Noise petition to Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO. The petition contained 18 million signatures calling for fair trade rules.
The grandson of Mexican farmers, he has been especially proactive in highlighting the injustice of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and North America.
A climate campaigner
In 2008, Gael joined other Oxfam ambassadors in calling on world leaders at the G8 summit in Japan to boost funds for climate change, the food crisis and development aid.
In the same year he and other international figures called on world leaders to tackle climate change at the UN meeting in Poland.
In the run up to the 2009 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Gael fronted the tcktcktck climate change advert and Oxfam's Climate Challenge, an on-line interactive quiz..