Tennis star Maria Sharapova may only be 20 years old; but that isn’t stopping her from acting well beyond her years and devoting her time, fame, and wealth to helping others. Sharapova recently became the Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Development Programme and has also started her own charitable organization to help those affected by the Chernobyl disaster. From the article,
“‘I want to help the Chernobyl-affected area,” she said. “It’s something very close to me because when my mum was pregnant, we left Belarus to go to Siberia because of Chernobyl, because of the radiation. I feel that’s very important, that when you’re part of a project you feel very close to it. So I look at the facts, how many people are still affected and the people who have died and what’s still going on. You want to help any way you can because you’re lucky that you’re still alive.’”
While I’m having trouble finding any information specific to Sharapova’s charity, I can confirm that she’s given about $100,000 to eight UN development projects in rural communities in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. For someone so young, it’s great to see a habit of giving back developing that will last a lifetime. Hit the jump for more.