Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 May 2015

Swank inspired by trip to Africa

Hilary Swank made an emotional trip to Ethiopia for charity
Hilary Swank made an emotional trip to Ethiopia for charity

Hilary Swank has told how she was inspired by her visit to schools in Ethiopia and will carry it with her "in my heart".

The Oscar-winning actress made an emotional journey to Ethiopia with Unicef and Montblanc, to see the work they are doing to help give all children the opportunity to learn to read and write.

Hilary said: "It's been truly incredible, it's been inspiring, and I look forward to sharing with my friends and my family all that I've learned and carrying these young people's words with me in my heart.

"And to travel to Ethiopia for the first time, a place I've always wanted to come, it's lived up to my expectations."

She added: "I've travelled extensively and worked with a lot of children in a lot of different countries, and I think what is the most incredible is their desire to learn. I've been all over Africa but this was my first time in Ethiopia.

"We're visiting a school, we've met a bunch of children here, we've given them some books and we were able to communicate even though we don't speak the same language so it's pretty incredible."

The Million Dollar Baby star witnessed the success of the Child-to-Child programme which sets up older students to help pre-school aged children to learn to read and write and help prevent them dropping out of school.

Hilary said: "We met a 14-year-old girl who is a tutor. They were concerned that her grades were going to fall because she's spending so much time with these kids, but it turns out in helping them, it just helps her improve as well.

"It was really nice to meet them and see what they're learning, how they're learning and how the Child-to-Child programme actually works."

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