Angelina Jolie Pitt visited Lebanon last month and took along her nine-year-old daughter, Shiloh, who’d wished to go on a humanitarian visit with her.
On a trip in June honoring World Refugee Day, Jolie spoke to People about her daughter’s interest in her humanitarian work.
“Shiloh is very aware that I hold refugee families in high regard and has been asking to come on missions and meet them for many years,” said Jolie.
The Oscar-winning actress also stated that Shiloh wanted to travel with her because she was interested in meeting 12-year-old Hala, a Syrian girl who Jolie met a year ago on a trip for the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR).
According to Jolie, the two girls instantly bonded as friends. “It was wonderful that they were able to meet, play together, and make friends,” she said.
In an emotional video, Jolie and Shiloh meet up with Hala and her family, who became displaced due to the war and violence in Syria. Here, the young refugees share their stories of hardship and endurance as they try to survive in the midst of uncertainty.
Recalling what triggered their move to Lebanon, Hala and her brother stated that one night they “started to hear the bombs dropping” and then “suddenly we saw the house falling down on our mother.”
Orphaned, the young family trekked to Lebanon in hopes of finding food, shelter, and safety, but their journey was still met with hardship and strife.
“As a refugee, you cannot legally work in a host country,” Angelina told the media outlet. “As a refugee, you learn how the world feels about you. You know if your suffering causes outrage and compassion – or if it is mostly ignored. Families like [Hala], living in Lebanon without parents, on half food rations and paying $100 a month to live in a tent – they know.”
Over four million people have fled Syria due to the ongoing violence — with refugees seeking shelter in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. Also, of the 1.2 million refugees in Lebanon, more than 50 percent of them are children.
Speaking of Hala and her family, Jolie noted, “Their memories of Syria are fading. They have stopped counting the days in displacement. Nothing is certain and they feel abandoned.”
Across the world today, Hala’s young family of eight is just a tiny fraction of the 60 million people who are currently displaced from their homes.
[Image via People]