Ben Affleck wants his kids to be charitable
Ben Affleck wants his children to "expand their consciousness" and get involved in charity work such as the work he does with the people of Congo.
LOS ANGELES - Ben Affleck wants his children to "expand their consciousness" and get involved in charity work.
The 44-year-old actor has Violet, 11, Seraphina, eight, and Samuel, five, with his estranged wife Jennifer Garner, and has said he thinks it's important for his brood to understand the "issues and struggles" faced by other cultures.
Affleck founded ECI, a grant-making and advocacy organisation focused on investing in and working with the people of eastern Congo, in 2009 and make frequent trips to the country, and is "amazed" at how interested his children are in his work.
He said: "I think helping my children expand their consciousness of other cultures, struggles, and issues outside of their own and outside of our country is one of the most important responsibilities I have as a parent and as a citizen - now more than ever.
"With each trip I take, I always try to keep in mind that I not only have a chance to encourage positive change in Congo when I go, but to also raise a level of appreciation, awareness, empathy and reciprocity from within my own home. For their part, my kids are amazing - always asking a million questions, wanting to see photos and hear stories. I can't wait for them to be old enough to experience Congo for themselves."
The actor recently made his 10th trip to Congo, and recalled meeting with girls as young as seven who had "survived horrific sexual violence".
He revealed: "Last month, I spent an afternoon with a group of women and girls in Goma who have survived horrific sexual violence. The youngest was just seven. It's stunning and unconscionable. But in the face of stigma and intimidation, these women and girls are working with our longtime local partner DFJ [Dynamique des Femmes Juristes, which advocates for women's rights] to bring about true justice. To stand up in court, not only on behalf of themselves, but their sisters, their daughters, their communities ... You spend time with these women and girls - you hear their stories, and words like courage take new meaning."
And the star is constantly fascinated by the "hard work and commitment of the Congolese people" which pushes him to continue working with them.
Asked by People magazine what makes him the most hopeful about working within the country, Ben said: "More than anything, it's the hard work and commitment of the Congolese people to improve their country. Seeing the passion and capability of so many wishing to bring about a better future for their children and communities is one of the greatest, most awe-inspiring experiences of my life thus far."