ben affleck
by Ali Berman
Categories: Causes, People
Tags: .

For years actor and director Ben Affleck has been working to help fight violence and poverty through his organization the Eastern Congo Initiative.

In an impressive new piece of animation, Affleck discusses why he started the organization and how it has brought meaning to his life beyond his professional accomplishments. He says in the video, “I’m a very fortunate person. I’ve been lucky and blessed enough to be very successful in ways I’ve always wanted as an actor, writer, director and so on. But I got to a point where I felt like I’m living this kind of vacuous life. I’m just living for myself…But I didn’t know what my values were. I didn’t know what I was contributing to the world.”

One day, that all changed. Affleck continues, “I was reading about the violence in western Sudan. And it said some 300,000 deaths in Darfur are dwarfed only by the 5 million deaths in central Africa…Five million deaths? That’s unimaginable.”

At that moment, he questioned why more isn’t being done to help. Why people, including himself, don’t know about the issue. So Affleck decided that he would do something about it. That’s when he started Eastern Congo Initiative, an advocacy and grant-making organization that gives funds to the most impactful community based programs in eastern Congo.

Watch the video, which is both beautiful and an inspiring piece on the organization’s work and Affleck’s journey to becoming an activist.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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