25 May 2014 - "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away"…this iconic phrase announces adventure, science fiction and the perpetual conflict that rages between Sith and Jedi, between evil and good. As the Star Wars franchise is re-launched, it’s partnering with UNICEF to help children today, in communities not too far away…
Disney and Lucasfilm LTD. and director J.J. Abrams have decided to partner with UNICEF to raise funds for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, programs and other innovative work for children around the globe, in over 190 countries in total. The goal is to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. The initiative, using a none-too-subtle pun, is called Star Wars: Force for Change.
Some of the projects on the list include: a text messaging solution in Zambia that helps families receive infant medical test results from clinics, in half the time, through mobile phones. Or, portable, solar-powered learning kits being built in China, Uganda, and Burundi to ensure underprivileged children in these countries have access to relevant, high-quality educational materials. The campaign using the hashtag: #ForceForChange, is asking fans to donate money via the Star Wars Omaze website in any amount from $10 USD up to $50,000 USD.
Each level of donation comes with a unique thank you gift. Furthermore, all donations also come with entries into a raffle for the possibility to win a trip to watch the filming process in London, meet the cast and no less than the opportunity become an immortalized on-screen part of the Star Wars universe, make-up and all. Many fans at this point I’m sure have stopped reading and are rushing to contribute, rest assured you have from the 21 May to 18 July.
Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Senior Advisor on Innovation told BBC News: "Unicef works […] to help the world's most vulnerable children and young people identify solutions and create change. The support from Star Wars: Force for Change will help to bind these innovators together on a mission to solve the world's most pressing problems, and create a better future."
Star Wars is the fifth highest grossing movie franchise of all time. Beyond the movies is an entire expanded universe of books, games, toys, and the list goes on... making the total franchise worth over $27 billion USD. The fan base is simply enormous, and so is their potential to generate change. In the fight for social change the world has seen the powerful effect of many rising as one, and in pursuing a better future for the children of the world today the same is true. So to the millions of Star Wars fans, some of whom may be reading this right now: when it comes to change, recollect the simple wisdom of Master Yoda, “Do…or do not. There is no try.”
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