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Connu du grand publique pour ses rôles dans la saga Pirates des Caraïbes et dans le film Orgueil & Préjugés, Keira Knightley est depuis devenue une actrice à succès, tenant des rôles dans plusieurs productions Hollywoodiennes et en recevant deux nominations aux Oscars. Depuis mai 2015, elle balance sa vie d'actrice avec celle de maman. Vous trouverez ici des informations sur ses projets, ses engagements, des photos, des interviews et des vidéos.
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Posted on mai 26, 2012 / by Elsa / in Engagements

What happened when Keira Knightley swapped Hollywood for the heat and hardship of poverty-stricken Chad? In these exclusive diary extracts she reveals all…

27 March 2012

It’s the day after my 27th birthday and I’m on a plane to Chad. It’s an African country somewhere near the middle and totally land-locked. I know that because the Unicef pack says so and not because I actually know. I had no idea where it was when they told me I was going. It seems rude not to know where a country is. I feel I should apologise as soon as I land.

Why are these people going to Chad? There’s a family of loud Americans sitting behind me on the plane, all coiffed and suited. Voices brash and hair blond with jewels jangling and I can’t quite make them add up. Why Chad? What are you going to do there all dressed to the nines? It’s going to be 40 degrees and dusty.

A vast desert sprawls out below the plane. A sea of sand. All this way up, I can make out sand dunes. Vast, never-ending desert dunes like waves rising up from the ground. Right now, flying over, it seems impossible to believe there’s anything else on earth but this ocean of sand. My heart’s beating and I can’t figure out if I’ve drunk too much coffee or I’m nervous. Nervous of what’s here.

28 March, 6:20am


It’s hot. Really hot. Like the air is thick and sticking to my skin. The sun hasn’t properly risen yet. My room in N’Djamena, is baking. I read more about Chad. It has a population of around 11 million. One in five children die before they’re five years old, one in nine before their first birthday. It is the 183rd poorest country of 187 on the Human Development Index.

Each year 57,000 children die before their first birthday, the vast majority as a result of preventable diseases – many preventable with a simple vaccine. 127,000 children under the age of five in Chad’s Sahel region will require life-saving treatment for acute malnutrition this year. Only 52 per cent of people have access to clean, safe water, and the percentage is even less in the poorest parts. Epidemics of measles and other diseases hit every year. Yet only 30 per cent of kids are fully immunised – one of the lowest percentages in the world.

Immunisation is not only a life saver from deadly preventable diseases like measles, tetanus and polio. It is also the entry point for mothers and children into the health system. The beginning is always immunisation.

At 9pm I find there’s air conditioning in my room. I’m such a dick. There was no need to boil last night. It’s the green button by the bed. I don’t know what to write about today, I don’t know how I feel.

This morning we went to the suburbs of N’Djamena with buildings like I’ve never seen before, partially woven walls and bricks made of mud. In one of these houses sits Chanceline, with her mother and grandmother. She has a pink dress and her hair’s woven into spikes. She’s three and she has a killer smile. She also had polio. She sits on the floor with her useless leg crossed under her, a constant reminder of the disease that ravaged her energetic little body.

Later in the afternoon, we meet Houra, also three, a shy girl with big solemn eyes. She, too, was paralysed from the waist down. She’d had a fever. Her mother took her to a doctor who said it was nothing. Then she woke up and couldn’t walk.

29 March


Today we visited a rehabilitation centre – somewhere that gives physiotherapy to people with polio, meningitis and cerebral
palsy, and teaches the enormous number of Chadians who have lost limbs to land mines or infection how to walk with prosthetics. It was here that we met Idris, who is four. He contracted polio at one and a half. He is paralysed from the waist down and is the bravest, most det-ermined little boy I have ever met. The doctor introduced us to show us how the leg braces that are given to polio victims work, how they help mobility.

Idris has grown out of his current ones but the doctor shoved him in them anyway. That child had a will to walk like I’ve never seen. Stabilised by two iron bars, he used his upper body to move his legs. He was exhausted by the end of it but he wouldn’t sit down. His dad talked about how lively Idris had been before, how they had received the first round of vaccination but Idris had got ill before his booster. He said that every day he came home from work he prayed he’d see Idris running around with the other kids and would then see him in the house, alone, trying to crawl.

The worst part of the day came when Idris’s dad asked why I was here, if I had come to cure his son. I’ve never felt more useless in my life. No I can’t cure him, I can’t make him walk and I wish with every fibre of my being that I could. Both families have been left reeling from the shock, and not knowing how or being able to afford to get treatment: physiotherapy to stop more muscle wastage or braces for the legs to help their children to walk.

30 March, Mao

Flying over Chad. I can’t describe the vastness of the yellow, burnt sand. How can anything survive? Acute severe malnutrition occurs in children after a month or six weeks without food. At that point the vital organs will begin to fail and the child will lose all appetite. They will suffer from diarrhoea and their immune systems will become so low that they will be highly susceptible to disease. When diarrhoea occurs they also become severely dehydrated, which means they will also not be able to drink. Then they will die.
Approximately one million children across the eight countries in the Sahel belt of West Africa including Chad are starving. The Nutrition Centre is in part of the hospital in Mao. As we drive in, the sick lie on mats outside under the trees or in the shade of the walkway.
There are 34 children at this centre, 14 with severe acute malnutrition. We enter the most severe room first. The light from outside blinds me at first and the smell hits before the images come into focus: sweat, bodies and faeces. As my eyes get used to the dark, rectangular room the images become clear. Mats with blankets on are lined up one next to the other, each one with a woman sitting cross-legged, back against the wall. In front of each woman is a tiny, starving child lying on the blanket. Their names, ages and dates of admission are stuck up on paper behind them on the wall.
I couldn’t remember their names. Shock combined with a desperation not to show it, or show any kind of revulsion at the diarrhoea, glistening white, meant my brain couldn’t keep hold of a single name. Hopefully I got it right on film. The first little boy screams as his blanket is pulled away to show the diarrhoea flowing out. Crying in fright and pain.
One two-year-old boy, who had been brought in three days before, is being fed by a tube through his nose because he can’t take any milk down his throat. Both hands are bandaged so he can’t rip it out – he had twice before. He stares at us with streaming eyes, defiance in his tiny frame. Flies buzz around everywhere. Next to him is a two-year-old girl called Mariam.
I don’t know why I remember her name but not the other two. She is suffering from a different side effect of acute severe malnutrition. She has swollen up: her face, legs, hands, stomach, everything. Her eyes are so swollen she can’t open them and her skin has stretched to the point that the top layer has burst.
In the second ward you see how improved the children are. They’re alert, their eyes are dancing. I hold one seven-month-old in my arms and he smiles and gurgles. He is only the size of a newborn baby but his hands are strong as he grips my finger and his eyes are focused. His mother sits smiling beside me. You can feel the energy in this tent, totally lacking in the first building. You can see these kids starting to be kids again.
The third tent is miraculous. Once the kids are in this one they are days from being released. The mothers are chatting, the kids are louder, sitting up, alert. The difference between this tent and the first area is so massive you forget the children are still tiny, still with bones sticking out of their chests. They are so alive, life bubbling out of them.
They are what children should be. One little girl, Ashta, is eating the peanut-butter solution. It’s all over her fingers and she’s staring at the shiny silver packet it comes in. I had one in my hand and she cried until I gave it to her. She held it to her as soon as I did, stopped crying and started beaming instead. At two, her priorities are totally straight.
Although the images today were horrific, it was easier than the other days. I think because in telling the story of malnutrition there can be, in the lamest terms, a happy ending.
The difficulties in Chad are mountainous. There is hardly any infrastructure. Almost no running, clean, safe water. Very few
schools. Little health care. Generally no electricity. Limited fuel. Hardly any roads. Because there is practically no health care there are very few doctors, nurses or paramedics. People would have to pay to go to medical school, nearly impossible because there are no jobs, then once they’ve paid and qualified they would have no job to go to because nobody’s there to hire them.
Vaccination is the way in. It’s a chain reaction. If you introduce vaccination as a norm, there have to be doctors. If the medical staff vaccinate the kids there is a relationship with the doctor. If there’s a relationship with the doctor, people go to them when they are sick. Once people get used to a health programme they will demand it from the government. Once a health care programme is put in place other programmes within the infrastructure (like education) can be put in place. Thank f*** there are people like Unicef who are taking on the challenge. But they need our support, and our funds to do this.





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