Think Joffery Baratheon, think pure evil. This is not exactly the ideal trait for a philanthropist extraordinaire but that is exactly what actor Jack Gleeson is well on the way to becoming. The Irish-born actor has announced that he is set to trade his axes for action and palaces for philanthropy now that his Song of Ice and Fire character reigns no more.
Gleeson launched to world wide fame after playing the tyrannical King Joffery in George R.R. Martin’s epic Game of Thrones in 2011, The ambitious 21 year old has not only conquered the acting world, but has also turned heads for his work for Goal, an Irish relief charity founded to help the people of Haiti rebuild their communities after the earthquake crisis in January 2010.
In November 2013, he traveled to Haiti to witness the project being undertaken by the charity in the capital city of Port au Prince. It’s been over four years since the 7.0 earthquake devastated the already impoverished country and claimed 230,000 lives. On that fateful day in 2010, 300,00 people were injured and a staggering 1.5 million were left homeless. The country is still reeling in the aftershock and probably will do for years, maybe even decades to come. A tragedy such as this is difficult for any country to recover from, and almost impossible for a poverty stricken island such as Haiti.
In the early days after the disaster, Goal rolled out their emergency relief program with the distribution of food and emergency shelter. Once this was in place, the charity was able to address the poor sanitation issues that lead to a cholera outbreak shortly after the earthquake.
Despite being able to re-house thousands of affected families and teaching stronger, more durable building techniques, Goal has said that there is still a tremendous amount of work ahead of them in order to help the people of Haiti to work towards a sustainable future. They are now continuing their efforts to rebuild the country safely and to improve hygiene to decrease the likelihood of a water born illness every becoming an issue again. Gleeson’s celebrity status has created a tremendous amount of media attention for the organisation, but the hard work is far from over.
Gleeson described his trip as a “tremendous honor” and as having got him out of his “comfort zone.” The later being his student lifestyle in the renowned Trintiy College, Dublin where he is studying a joint honors degree in philosophy and theology. It’s safe to say that the Irish-born star is an incredible example of a young celebrity using their own fortune to help others and make a real difference in the world. Gleeson’s decision to shun fame for a more charitable lifestyle is so poignant due to the glaringly obvious juxtaposition between Gleenson’s selfless personality and the demonic nature of the super villain Joffery. It would seem that this young star has picked a new battle to being, only this time it’s one where he is sure to triumph.