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Harry Potter actress visits crisis-hit families in Africa
YOUNG people know her as Ginny Weasley, the girl who won Harry Potter’s heart.
As one of the small band of actors to appear in all Harry Potter films, graduating from bit part to Mrs Harry Potter, Bonnie Wright’s journey as an actress was followed by millions across the globe.
Now she has been putting the Potter magic to use as an ambassador for Oxfam.
Her new role recently took her to Senegal with Oxford-based staff from the charity.
More than 18 million people in nine countries across the region are threatened with food shortages, including a million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
With the harvests not due until late September and October, she arrived in the region as it was entering the worst of the crisis.
Next month the 21-year-old will be one of the stars appearing at an evening of storytelling and performance at Oxford Playhouse to help celebrate Oxfam’s 70th birthday.
Others taking part include celebrity chef Raymond Blanc, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop and Sex in the City actress Kristin Davis.
Like Ms Wright many of them have taken foreign trips with Oxfam, and like her returned home with their commitment to the charity strengthened.
Ms Wright’s interest in the organisation grew from the commitment of her parents, owners of jewellery company Wright & Teague.
They have designed jewellery ranges exclusively for Oxfam, made in workshops in India, and held a coffee morning to celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day.
“I grew up taking clothes and books to Oxfam. I always seemed to be in the Oxfam books shop. Oxfam in a way was part of the family’s way of life,” said Ms Wright, who lives in London.
Oxfam’s Claire Wilkinson, based in Cowley, accompanied the actress on the trip.
She said: “The trip with Bonnie came at a time that we desperately needed to raise awareness of the food crisis in Senegal and across the whole of the Sahel region. ”
Over two days she travelled to four villages to talk to malnourished families.
She said: “It was an eye opening and inspiring experience to hear people’s stories and see how isolated they were. Villages in the region of Kedougou – an area deeply suffering from food shortages and unstable crop growth – were so remote.”
The actress’s visit to Africa followed the shooting of her latest film Shakespeare’s Daughter, starring Chevy Chase. She is looking forward to taking on her first lead role in the British film In Want of a Wife.