The Spanish actor is a committed advocate for the rights of the underprivileged.
By J. M. Towers
Award-winning actor Antonio Banderas is an advocate for the rights of the disadvantaged, the underserved, the needy and the suffering. A few years ago, he launched Tears and Favors Foundation (Fundación Lágrimas y Favores) with the objective of providing scholarships and financial aid to underprivileged students at the University of Malaga. His foundation also works with Cudeca, an association dedicated to fund and manage palliative care for terminally ill cancer patients, and to provide support for their caretakers and families.
After a meeting with Sandra Alejandra Garcia Sanjuán and Alejandra Alemán, founders of Children in Joy Foundation (Niños en Alegría), he agreed to lend a helping hand to the most vulnerable children in Mexico, raising funds to build schools for poor children.
Banderas has shown a heartfelt commitment to humanitarian causes. On more than one occasion, he has declared his concern for the difficult issues of our time, and never hesitates to act to fight social injustice, offering his image and time for charity events and solidarity activities. He firmly believes that when a person becomes a public figure and gains a certain level of persuasion and mass appeal, he/she must use that privilege to help others.
When asked if his philanthropic posture was intended to clean up his image, or perhaps his own conscience, the actor smiles and replies: "I do not care what some people may think. When I went to Somalia to take medicines, food and a range of needed goods, the children who received them did not ask me why was I doing it. They didn’t ask if I was a Christian or just altruistic. I wish there were many people, and especially companies and corporations, willing to clean up their image through a percentage of their profits ... That would avoid so many problems in the world. "
Starlite founders: Alejandra Alemán, Antonio Banderas, Sandra García Sanjuán.
Onscreen, Banderas has played everything from trumpet player to priest, hired gun, villain, hero and vigilante ... But as he has said on occasion: "The best role of my life has been, and still is, bringing comfort and help to people who really need and deserve it. "
Even with a busy schedule, Banderas attends the Starlite Gala in Marbella every year. The most important benefit event in Spain celebrates its fourth edition on August 10th. The actor, who will also celebrate his birthday, will host the gala and will be joined by wife Melanie Griffith, supermodel Valeria Mazza, and his close friend Alejandro Sanz, among many other Spanish and international celebrities. Proceeds from the event will benefit three foundations: Tears and Favors, Children in Joy and Cudeca.
STARLITE GALA 2012.
1. Antonio Banderas, Daryl Hannah, Stella del Carmen, Melanie Griffith.
2. Daryl Hannah, Antonio Banderas.
3. Sandra García Sanjuán, Daryl Hannah, Félix Revuelta, David Bisbal, Antonio Banderas.
Highlights from the gala include a performance by Alejandro Sanz, who will receive the 2013 Humanitarian Award for his charitable work. Argentinian model Valeria Mazza, UNICEF’s ambassador for "Together Against Neonatal Tetanus", godmother of the Pediatric Unit at Hospital Universitario Austral in Buenos Aires and ambassador of Special Olympics, will also receive an award. ■
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