Ben Affleck via the Eastern Congo Initiative raises awareness over atrocities committed against women and children in Congo…
Ben Affleck launched a new initiative Monday to raise money and awareness over atrocities committed against women and children during years of conflict in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Affleck told The Associated Press.
The American actor and director spent five days in the country last week, where he met with former child sex slaves and prisoners convicted of rape in the hope of gaining a better understanding of Congo’s trouble.
The new foundation – the Eastern Congo Initiative – will support community-based, Congolese groups, said Affleck on the heels of his fifth trip to the country.
“It was folks in these communities that were addressing the humanitarian crisis who were doing the most, in my view, to solve it, because they understood the community, because they understood the problem, they were the most dedicated and the most committed because it was their lives,” Affleck told AP over the weekend at Nairobi’s international airport.
“Naturally they were best equipped to solve it. Their impediment was they didn’t have the means, the funding,” he said.
The new initiative is funded in part by founding member Howard G. Buffett, son of investor Warren Buffet, to whom Affleck pitched his vision of a new aid group by describing eastern Congo’s dire situation.
“I want you to know that 3.5 million people have died over the last 12 years. I want you to know about the women who are being raped, about the child soldiers … about the kids I just met who have HIV,” Affleck said he told Buffet. “I kind of bored him for two hours and basically twisted his arm.”
Buffet said in a statement that he joined Affleck in the initiative because he believes in supporting locally initiated, sustainable efforts.
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