Orlando Bloom becomes the first celebrity to visit Liberia since Ebola outbreak

Orlando Bloom has been volunteering with UNICEF since 2008 and was officially named a Goodwill Ambassador in 2009. In his latest work for the UN, Bloom became the first celebrity to visit Liberia since the region became decimated by an Ebola outbreak last year. While the deadly disease is largely considered under control, there is still a risk of contracting the virus. Bloom spent four days meeting with survivors and learning how the communities are trying to rebuild after the crisis.

In a video released by the UN, Bloom dons a protective suit to show the precautions that must be taken by healthcare workers, who are at greatest risk. In another scene, he meets with a 29 year-old father who lost his wife and four of his children to Ebola. The dad is raising his six year-old son alone and explains that people in his village are still afraid to play football (soccer) with him. On camera, Bloom reflects on his meeting and you can tell that he is moved by the plight of the single dad and all the people he met. Here’s more, thanks to People:

“Everyone I met was determined to beat Ebola so that they can resume their normal lives,” Bloom said in a UNICEF statement after meeting with religious and youth leaders in the capital city of Monrovia. “Communities have been at the center of the fight against Ebola and must continue to be supported because of their crucial role in getting to zero cases.”

In a touching video from his trip, Bloom is shown meeting with Ansu Anderson Turay and his 6-year-old son, Abraham.

Turay – who lost his wife, two sons and two daughters in the Ebola outbreak – is raising his son alone, and says that many in his village are still fearful to come in contact with him.

“It’s quite hard to comprehend such a loss,” an emotional Bloom said following their meeting. “They’re all just dealing with loss like that at such a profound level.”

Bloom praised the efforts of Ebola-affected communities in combatting the deadly virus, and the actor is shown in a video getting outfitted in protective gear, including two pairs of rubber gloves, full body suit and goggles.

[From People]

People has a second video from UNICEF of Bloom touring a slum in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, called West Point. In Monrovia, Bloom visited with the A-Life project, which works to raise awareness of Ebola prevention. He also visited a school near the Sierra Leone border and learned about their Ebola safety procedures.

People has two videos of Orlando’s visit, and the UN has two more that are available for download on their site. I’ve included the additional videos here. There’s a real gem of a video where Orlando visits a school, reads a story to the children, holds hands with a little girl, and gushes over babies in a clinic. He’s such a natural.

And here’s a video of Orlando talking about his visit. You can tell that he was so affected by the people he met. I have so much respect for him and the work he’s doing with the UN. You can learn more about UNICEF and help contribute to their work by visiting UNICEF.org.




photos credit: UNICEF/Jallanzo

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24 Responses to “Orlando Bloom becomes the first celebrity to visit Liberia since Ebola outbreak”

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  1. NeoCleo says:

    A man who is into volunteering their time to help others is totally sexy in my book.

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      I have to say he normally doesn’t do it for me, and usually celeb charity runs don’t move me super deeply, but this feels genuine/therefore makes me melt a bit in the nether ya ya’s as Amy Farah Fowler would say!

  2. Astrid says:

    Team Bloom. Nice that he is using his star power as a UN Ambassador to bring attention to such devistation.

    • Pandy says:

      Yeah, I came to the article to fire off a shot at Bloom – but I can’t. Good on him for his UN work.

  3. Snazzy says:

    I love Liberia (I lived there for a while) – such strong, resilient and beautiful people, who have suffered (famine, civil war and all that goes with it, disease, etc) so much and keep going with such strength and hope.

    Good on Bloom for bringing it to the forefront – I know many people complain about celebrity ambassadors, but I say the more these issues get brought to the forefront, the better. We all have a part to play in making this world better.

  4. Ally.M says:

    The people seem so full of hope….it’s amazing after what they’ve suffered. I hope Liberia continues to heal and they manage to become Ebola free soon. Respect to Orlando for this and all the work he does for UNICEF. It makes me sad that another celebrity blog called him a loser today of all days.

  5. Abby says:

    Good for Orlando! I love seeing celebrities raising awareness for important causes.

  6. Nola says:

    Anything that calls attention to the devastation of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia is a step the right direction.

    I’ve got to give props to Orlando for doing this.

  7. JoyJoy says:

    It’s Sierra Leone


    Good for Orlando–using his celebrity for something positive. I’ve always like him.

    • Snazzy says:

      No, the clip says Liberia visit
      The three main countries hit were Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea
      All have suffered massively because of this outbreak

  8. lucy2 says:

    It takes guts for anyone to willingly go into an epidemic, and I give him credit for doing so and bringing attention back to the crisis. Once all the hysteria called down the media attention on ebola really dropped off, but so many people are still suffering and dying.

  9. lunchcoma says:

    I’ve made fun of Orlando a bit recently, but this is a really admirable thing to do. It’s easy to dehumanize people when they’re far away and suffering from an epidemic that’s so frightening and unfamiliar, and I think it’s valuable to show the human side of the crisis.

  10. Shambles says:

    Mad props to Orly for bringing attention back to the fact that people are still suffering and dying, even though the handful of non-Africans that contracted Ebola have recovered. I don’t know how it’s been elsewhere, but here stateside I feel like we only saw a flurry of coverage/interest when it was Americans that had contracted the disease and were coming back to US soil with it. Now that phase has passed, and we barely see any ongoing Ebola coverage. It speaks volumes, imo. Anyway, good for Orlando. May he return safely and in good health.

    • Emma33 says:

      Yes, good on him! The media coverage has died down so much that it is easy to forget that the crisis is on-going, although at much lower levels. Terribly sad about the families who have lost multiple members, just awful.

  11. serena says:

    I’m so proud of him! And a proud Orlieloonie too! It takes a certain amount of courage and strenght to do what he did, it may not be much for a lot of people but I think it’s great .

  12. Bread and Circuses says:

    Good for him. Africa is such an amazing place, and anything he can do to help the Ebola-affected nations continue their heroic recovery is a good thing.

  13. Lucy says:

    I’m so proud of him for doing this! He’s so lovely.

  14. DesertReal says:

    My heart goes out to those who are facing the pain and struggle with the loss this epidemic has brought them. Props to Mr. Bloom for doing his part to continue to bring attention to this crisis.

  15. oneshot says:

    It’s good he went, the outbreak is far from over and people still need help.

  16. NewGirl says:

    this is awesome

  17. GingerCrunch says:

    I just came to see if there were any Legolas pix. Shoot! That would’ve been pretty random, tho.