As his mutant alter-ego Wolverine, Hugh Jackman has saved the world countless times but did you know that he’s doing his best to save the real world as well?
Unfortunately, though the things Hugh’s trying to fight, poverty, AIDS and access to safe water are a lot harder to deal with than giant robots, evil eugenists and blokes with buckets on their heads.
So instead of using metal claws (which Hugh doesn’t have, sorry guys), he’s using his real-life superpowers ‘wealth’ and ‘fame’ to help sort out some of the biggest problems facing society.
Hugh currently supports 28 different charities including the Cancer Research Institute, the Red Cross and the Worldwide Orphans Foundation.
His biggest passion however it seems is metaphorically punching the root cause for a number of these problems, in the face, that problem being poverty.
According to the UN, poverty is a multifaceted problem which at its most basic prevents people from accessing their basic personal needs.
While that’s quite a robotic description of poverty a lot of people misunderstand what it actually is. Poverty isn’t as simple as not having enough money for beers on a Friday night.
Poverty is not having access to food, it’s not having access to even the most basic of medicines, it’s not having the means to travel to vote to change the system that put you in this situation in the first place.
Worse than that it’s self-perpetuating because people in poverty often lose the means to get themselves out of the situation and become even more vulnerable.
To help put an end to the cycle of poverty Hugh works as a global advisor to the Global Poverty Project and has used his considerable star power to bring to attention the project’s goal of ending poverty by 2030.
He worked as a narrator on the Global Poverty Project’s documentary highlighting the causes of poverty and has appeared on talk shows, including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, with the project’s founder Hugh Evans to promote their message.
Hugh was also the public face of the Live Below the Line Campaign.
The Live Below The Line Campaign challenged those taking part to raise money and awareness by living below the extreme poverty line and hopefully offer some personal insights into the lack of opportunity and choice to those trapped in poverty.
The campaign managed to raise more than $5 million for the Global Poverty Project’s partner organisations and started more than 400,000 conversations about poverty.
In addition to all this Hugh’s also worked on a number of other projects including the Global Citizen’s Festival a huge musical event which secured $1.3 billion in commitments to help fight extreme poverty.
While working as a philanthropist Hugh’s made it clear he supports microcredits, which are small loans offered to entrepreneurs working in poorer countries.
In the past, he’s been a vocal supporter of Muhammad Yunus, an economist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.
Yunus believes that giving entrepreneurs who are too poor to qualify for a traditional bank loan the ability to work their way out of poverty which will have the knock-on effect of achieving world peace.
When Jackman read Yunus’ book Banker to the Poor he found it a revelationary experience.
I was so captivated by [Yunus] that I wrote a letter to the address on the back cover, a P.O. box in Bangladesh. I wrote: ‘I’m so inspired by you. I know you have no idea who I am, but I do have some profile in the land where I lived and if there is any way I can help, I’d be happy to do so.’
After writing to Yunus the pair met and Hugh was inspired to visit Ethiopia with World Vision, a humanitarian group who look into how they can build stronger communities against poverty in the developing world.
Hugh had planned to make a documentary while he was out there on the impact of Fair Trade certification on coffee growers but while there he met Dukale and everything changed.
Dukale was a local farmer who Hugh connected with, and this connection led to Hugh founding Laughing Man Coffee, a philanthropic enterprise which works improve the lives of small farmers.
The Laughing Man Coffee website explains:
What we learned from Dukale was first, that amazing coffees are being grown by small farmers like Dukale and they needed to be shared. Second, coffee farming is a family affair.
Everyone is part of the process and family is not just those in your home but the community around you that helps and benefits from your success.
This appreciation for community and family is very much a part of how we operate our cafes and we wanted the foundation to be an extension of that.
So we look to programs that are not so much about making more sustainable coffee, although we do, but focus on sustainable individuals, family, and community.
In 2018 alone the Laughing Man Foundation has worked to provide over 40 scholarships and hundreds of homes complete with plumbing, roofs, bedrooms, kitchens and other basic quality of life improvements.
The Laughing Man Cafes, of which there are two in New York, donate all proceeds into charitable programs that support housing, health and educational initiatives within fair-trade farming communities.
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) July 23, 2018
Their parent company, Keurig also donates an undisclosed portion of the proceeds of each of its Laughing Man sales to those causes while the man himself Hugh donates all his profits.
It’s believed that Hugh hopes that by setting the business as sustainable on its own that Laughing Man can continue to make a difference for years to come even after Hugh’s star has faded.
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