JERUSALEM – Actors Sacha Baron Cohen and his actress wife, Isla Fisher, are donating $1 million to two organizations helping Syrian children and refugees.
Half the sum will go to the UK-based Save The Children to help vaccinate against measles in northern Syria, while the other half is earmarked for the New York-based International Rescue Committee, run by former British foreign secretary David Miliband. The IRC helps fund education, health care, shelter and sanitation for refugees in Syria and neighboring countries.
“Sacha and Isla’s donation is a great expression of humanity, and a challenge to do more for the most vulnerable,” said Miliband. “I hope it is an example to many others seeking practical ways of making a difference during the Christmas and New Year season.”
Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, said Syria’s health system had collapsed, and deadly childhood diseases such as measles had returned, threatening the lives of many children.
“These are desperate times for Syrian families facing bombs, bullets and torture in Syria,” Forsyth said. “The couple’s donation will save many thousands of lives and protect some of the most vulnerable children.”
The 44-year-old Cohen, who is Jewish, starred in the movie Borat and in other films. Australia-born Fisher, 39, known for her role in Confessions Of A Shopaholic, converted to Judaism when she married Cohen.
More than 250,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, and more than seven million others have been forced from their homes.