World Vision Ambassadors Hugh Jackman and Deborra lee Furness have applauded the Australian Federal Government’s dollar-matching scheme, saying it means people’s generous donations would help twice as many drought-stricken families in East Africa.

Speaking recently with World Vision CEO Tim Costello at the launch of their new social enterprise, Laughing Man Worldwide, Mr Jackman and Ms Furness said the needs in Africa remained urgent and the Government’s incentive for Australians to donate was to be applauded.

“There are so many children in the world that will literally die from malnutrition if they don’t get help urgently,” Ms Furness said. “I love that the Australian Government is putting out the offer of matching every dollar anyone gives to help save some of these young lives.”

Mr Jackman said, “The Australian Public are as generous as anyone in the world and they love to give. To know that if they give $20, or if they give $50, or $100, the government is going to match that amount I hope encourages them to donate on this occasion. Any amount you can give helps. I really applaud the Australian Government, Kevin Rudd in particular.”

The total number of people requiring urgent assistance in the drought-stricken areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia is estimated by the United Nations at 13.3 Million.

World Vision has been responding to this crisis since February and has so far assisted 1.4 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Speaking at the launch of Laughing Man, Rev Costello said: "To have an appeal where for every dollar you can leverage another dollar is something all of us feel. We say “I’m so small, my gift is so small”, but to know it’s doubling in impact and literally saving lives is fantastic."

Mr Jackman and Ms Furness visited Ethiopia with World Vision and Tim Costello in 2009.

Laughing Man Worldwide is a coffee, tea and chocolate business started by Mr Jackman and Ms Furness from which all proceeds go to charity.

In describing his inspiration for Laughing Man, Mr Jackman said “Laughing Man actually began from the trip we took to Ethiopia. We had a chance to live and work on a coffee farm there with a man named Dukale. That laid the seed for what we have today – a coffee, tea and chocolate business where all the proceeds go to charity, and I’m proud to say that one of the main recipients is going to be World Vision.”

Watch a video of Hugh, Deborra and Tim Costello here.


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