Orlando Bloom is famous for playing many memorable roles, but his most enduring one might be that of humanitarian.
The 38-year-old actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador concluded on Monday a four-day visit to Liberia, where he was the first high profile personality to visit since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak.
“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.
Bloom met with representatives of the A-Life project in West Point, a poor and densely populated neighborhood in Monrovia, who explained how their volunteers had reached more than 25,000 people to raise awareness on how to avoid getting ill and preventing the spread of the virus.
At a school on the border of Sierra Leone, the actor observed the Ebola school safety protocols that were introduced when schools reopened after a seven-month shutdown, which included taking children’s temperatures when they arrive to school and making them wash their hands before entering the classroom.
“Because of this outbreak, a million children in Liberia have had their school year cut in half,” said Bloom. “They’re excited to be back in the classroom but the precautions every single one of them must follow every day are a reminder of the need to remain vigilant.”
According to UNICEF, the Ebola virus has infected more than 24,000 people across the sub-region – including over 5,000 children – and has killed nearly 10,000.
Bloom visited a Syrian refugee camp in April 2014, in which he said the child refugees had “witnessed such pain.”