They say it’s not how much money you have that’s important, but what you do with it.
So for George Clooney and his wife Amal to cover the school fees of 3,000 Syrian refugee children perhaps says more about their character than anything they did to amass their wealth.
The $2.5 million gesture is being facilitated through the Clooney Foundation for Justice which ‘was established in late 2016 to advance justice in courtrooms, communities, and classrooms around the world’, in partnership with UNICEF and Google.
HP, the computer manufacturer, is also donating a $1 million technology grant.
The child refugees in question are currently living in Amal’s homeland of Lebanon, where they attend school for half a day.
By covering registration fees, textbooks, and teacher salaries for the extra classes, the program will allow the children to study for the whole day.
In a press release, the Clooneys said that “thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk — the risk of never being a productive part of society.
“Formal education can help change that. That’s our goal with this initiative. We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The Syrian refugee situation remains the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, and Lebanon has seen the biggest influx of refugees per capita bar none.
1 million of the total 5 million Syrian refugees have found themselves in the country, which has a population of only 6 million itself.
By easing the strain on some schools, the Clooney Foundation for Justice program will help the local Lebanese children who study there as well as those who have escaped war.
For the blue collar worker, it can be easy to claim what the Clooneys are doing is a drop in the ocean.
That when the $2.5 million gesture works out at less than 1% of their estimated combined net worth of $260 million, they could give more.
Or the classic ‘if they cared so much why don’t they let some refugees stay in their house’, which is, frankly, a nonsense response.
But even if people think the Clooneys could give more, the fact remains that giving something is better than giving nothing, as most people are doing.
It should also be pointed out that the program brings more than just cold hard cash.
It leverages George and Amal Clooney’s stature to bring massive exposure to the crisis too, in the way a CNN article argued for back in 2014.
Over 3 years later, it seems that writer got his wish.
In the process, 3,000 Syrian refugee children also got theirs.