Best known as the hopeless romantic that is Charlotte in Sex and the City, Kristin Davis is imploring Australians to speak up in support of the 60 million displaced people in the world – 83 per cent of which are women and children – as part of her role as a UNHCR ambassador. Launching their new #iwill campaign in Sydney today, here are the most important things Kristin believes we need to hear for us all to be able to change the world.
We can make such a huge difference.
“It’s a tremendous, emotional, moral commitment to say, ‘We want to help these people because they are so remote, and they deserve help.’ They’re incredibly resourceful, they’re incredibly strong women. And they’re subjected to all of these things that are not their own fault, they just happen to be born in this area. And that’s why we can make such a huge difference.”
Celebrity can be a lot of things
“It can be troublesome in some ways, and then it can be really wonderful in others. And then it does give this access. It wasn’t until I became successful that I was even able to travel… [But] just going on a safari was not going to let me become aware of the realities that the people were dealing with.”
We need freedom to talk about things that are real
“The stigma needs to be taken off, and that was the crux of [Sex and the City] at the beginning. At the beginning we were all very panicked that people were going to flip out. We thought that the feminists were going to be very mad at us… because it hadn’t been done and we just didn’t know what would happen. And then we were so relieved when it was embraced… It’s very different to talking about refugee women, and then yet there’s this kind of similarity in that not talking about things that are real to women, hurts women. We can’t make things better if we can’t even say it.”
Don’t dwell on the pain of the past.
“Teaching [refugees] a livelihood skill keeps their hands busy and they think less about the past. And who cannot respect that? You know, this is true in our day-to-day lives, I find. You don’t want to dwell on the pain of the past, you want to move forward in life. And part of the way to move forward in life is to work and to provide for your children and to provide for your community.”
The first thing a woman does is feed her child.
“When a woman is able to make a living, she’s able to be independent. And the first thing she does is feed her child, and then to make sure that they can go to school… It’s so amazing, the kind of knowledge and creativity that [refugees] can use from their own experience to say what the children who are in a situation they had been in, can do. And that’s what I love about supporting refugees. They’re trying to lift up the other refugees, so that they will be able to have a life. And the greater vision is that that is the way the world will change, through education.”
We live in a scary world.
“Just to be really basic about it, our world is frightening. We have terrorist attacks in Paris, obviously 9/11, we have ongoing fears… In London they’re going around telling them every day, ‘The terrorist attack will happen, it’s a matter of when’. I mean, when you’re living under that kind of stress it’s very hard to have an open attitude towards people you don’t know. And I think because it tends to be a newspaper story where they talk about the huge numbers, you don’t really personalise what these people have been through. You don’t really think about why they would have to flee in this really frightening manner, in this tiny little dingy boat across the Mediterranean, you’re just thinking, ‘Oh no, I’m afraid for my family’.”
A really great way to make us not safe is to let all those people stay disenfranchised.
“There are other people out there who would love to go help them and feed them and indoctrinate them into their more angry way of thinking. We do not want that to happen. We have enough problems. We need to embrace, in a humanitarian-type way, the people who are in need. That’s what I feel, and that’s the way that our world’s going to be different for our children.”
There’s an education gap.
“And I also think the numbers are overwhelming. They think, well where are those 60 million people going to go? I don’t want them in my country. And look, I get that. They just haven’t gone there and seen them; they haven’t met them, they don’t know how hard those people want to work, how all those people want is a safe place for their children to live and be educated, so they can work and be a functioning part of society. That’s my experience of refugees.”
Find out more or be part of the #iwill conversation at unrefugees.org.au