By Tim Saunders on
Paris Hilton is to head to one of the poorest countries on the planet to raise awareness of child poverty.
Plans have been confirmed for the 26 year old socialite and heiress of the Hilton Hotel chain to travel to Rwanda next month, as part of her image makeover following her brief stint in jail in June.
“I’ll be going in November, after I get back from filming my movie,” said the star of “A Simple Life”, who is currently making “Repo! The Genetic Opera” with director Darren Lynn Bousman. “There’s so much need in that area, and I feel like if I go, it will bring more attention to what people can do to help.”
The trip is being undertaken in conjunction with Playing For Good, a charity dedicated to children’s issues set up a year ago by Scott Lazerson. Playing For Good was founded as a way to inspire and help businesses and celebrities to get involved in philanthropic work, and has attracted the support of stars such as Eva Longoria, Fran Drescher, and Goldie Hawn. Events organized by the charity in the past year have raised money for Millennium Promise Alliance, Keep A Child Alive, Spread The Net, and The Hawn Foundation. Lazerson plans to film Hilton’s journey to the war-ravaged nation and sell it as part of a new reality show, “The Philanthropist”, which will feature various celebrities on missions to help the world’s poor.
“She’s using her celebrity status and the cameras that follow her for the good of the world,” he said.
Thirteen years ago, the African nation of Rwanda was the scene of one of the worst massacres witnessed in recent history, when the Hutu-led military slaughtered almost a million Tutsis, in a country with a population of only 9 million people. Today, the political situation remains unstable, although President Paul Kagame is currently restructuring the Government to form a more secure country.
“I’m scared, yeah. I’ve heard its really dangerous,” said Hilton, regarding the trip to a country with an average life expectancy of 39 years, and where only 41% of the population has access to safe drinking water. “I’ve never been on a trip like this before.”
Hilton’s trip will last for five days, and is the first step in the shedding of her old persona, a promise she made to herself and the world in June.
“Before, my life was about parties – it was a fantasy,” she said. “But when I had time to reflect, I felt empty inside. I want to leave a mark on the world. I want to visit more countries where poverty and children’s issues are a big concern. I know there’s a lot of good I can do just by getting involved and bringing attention to these issues.”
Also as part of her new image, Hilton plans to make her new home in Beverly Hills more eco-friendly.
“I just bought the house,” she said. “I haven’t been able to work on it yet. But I intend to.”
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