And the Oscar goes to...

By Denise Koenig and Elizabeth Hendley
Feb 24, 2014

Every year, World Vision plays a supporting role in the lives of children and families in need around the world. Just as the film industry honors its high achievers with the Academy Awards, we’d like to nominate a slate of real-life stars whose dramatic lives relate to some of this year’s top film titles and themes.

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©2005 Jon Warren/World Vision
“12 YEARS A SLAVE”: Survivor’s story of a horrific kidnapping and enslavement. OUR TAKE: Rebel warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army wreaked havoc in Uganda and neighboring areas from the late 1990s into the 2000s, often kidnapping children to fight alongside them. World Vision’s Children of War Center in Gulu, Uganda, helped former child soldiers rehabilitate with therapy sessions (above, in 2005), counseling, and spiritual care.
©2013 Sopheak Kong/World Vision
“DALLAS BUYERS CLUB”: One man’s search for medicine to treat his HIV infection. OUR TAKE: Many families around the world lack access to basic healthcare, resulting in a dozen children younger than 5 dying every minute of mostly preventable causes — 1,404 children during “Dallas Buyers Club’s” 117-minute run time. World Vision supplies clinics like Ta Lart clinic in Phnom Sruch, Cambodia, with medicines to provide local mothers and children with basic checkups and immunizations.
©2012 Daniel Lee/World Vision
“CAPTAIN PHILLIPS”: Somali pirates hijack a freighter captained by an American. OUR TAKE: This daring operation offers hope to families living in Somalia, where years of civil war and chronic drought have kept millions of people struggling with poverty and hunger. At Candle Light Development Center in Hargeisa, Somalia, boys and girls receive six months of training in a variety of trades like painting, tailoring, technology repair, and carpentry. After six months, students are buoyed by the ability to start their own business or receive a job referral from the center.
©2013 Laura Reinhardt/World Vision
“WOLF OF WALL STREET”: Greed ruins the lives of fraudsters. OUR TAKE: Thirteen-year-old Selvin Garcia got his start not on Wall Street but in World Vision’s Basic Sanitation Committee in Yamaranguila, Honduras. Unlike the film, World Vision promotes youth leadership and character-building groups and activities to help children form values and contribute to community life. With his handmade model of Yamaranguila’s buildings, farms, and churches, Selvin skillfully explains to investors — World Vision child sponsors — the impact their capital has made in his town.
©2012 Laura Reinhardt/World Vision
“FROZEN”: An epic journey leads to a free kingdom. OUR TAKE: In the faraway land of Cluj, Romania, two sisters, Alina and Ana Maria Matei-Vlad, brave their icy world of freezing temperatures and mountains of snow that make life difficult for rural families in cold climates. Without snow plows or central heating, many Romanians tough it out in the bitterest of winters; the average low temperature from October to March is a harsh 28 degrees. World Vision supplies rural families in Cluj with emergency supplies — and, for Alina and Ana Maria, insulated boots and new coats for their snowy trek to and from school.
©2012 Jon Warren/World Vision
“PHILOMENA”: A mother’s search for her child taken by injustice. OUR TAKE: In the United States, an Amber Alert is broadcast when a child goes missing. But how to create an Amber Alert in Cambodian villages when the enemies are sex traffickers? World Vision came up with a plan — one that saved the life of Savoeun Chea (above). In Phnom Penh, World Vision has established care centers for street children and aftercare for girls rescued from the sex trade. The Neaver Thmey (New Ship) center has served more than 800 girls since 1997.