HOLLYWOOD actor and devoted dad Jimi Mistry has visited Rwanda to highlight child poverty in the run up to Father’s Day.
Actor Jimi Mistry with nine-year-old schoolgirl Rachel, who is given cow's milk to combat malnutrition.The star of The Guru and East Is East, who lives in Crouch End, made the journey with ActionAid to meet children growing up without parents.
He has sponsored a child through the charity for many years and shared the experience with 10-year-old daughter Elin.
Jimi said: “As a dad, I want the best for my daughter, Elin. I kept telling her how excited I was about the visit, but I had no idea what to expect.
“I was amazed. Rwanda is a beautiful country with warm, humble and dignified people and given the genocide in 1994 what I saw is even more remarkable.”
Jimi visited Mpanga Primary School, which has moved from the top to the bottom of a mountain thanks to ActionAid’s child sponsorship scheme.
The children had been left exhausted and teachers were hard to find because the five kilometre hike up the mountainside was so perilous.
The actor spoke to 13-year-old schoolgirl Martina, who had faced wild hunting dogs on one journey to school, and made the trek himself.
He also overcame a personal fear and milked a cow at the primary school - which has helped the children recover from malnutrition.
“Often the basics, like milk are taken for granted,” said Jimi. “It was an unforgettable moment watching a little girl called Rachel, who is just a little younger than my daughter, being given a regular drink of milk and therefore the chance of a brighter future.”
ActionAid is asking people to support its Unforgettable Moments campaign by donating 50p a day - the cost of a pint of milk.
To sponsor a child visit www.actionaid.org.uk/moments