In 4REAL Liberia, Sol takes international music sensation, M.I.A., to post-war Liberia where they see how child rights advocate, Kimmie Weeks, founder of Youth Action International, is helping young people rebuild their lives and their country. Over the years, Kimmie has formed partnerships and led organizations that have provided education to over 1 million students in West Africa, successfully lobbied for the disarmament of over 20,000 child soldiers and provided health care to children. When Kimmie was a child living in poverty, in war-torn Liberia, hunger and illness nearly took his life. At one point he had been declared dead.
“My mom told me what had happened, that they had literally thrown my body away,” Kimmie recalls. “When I recovered, I said to myself there is no reason children should be living in these conditions. I said I would dedicate my entire life to making sure that no child went without food or water or medicine."
Kimmie brings Sol and M.I.A. to meet Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but not before M.I.A. learns a quick lesson in presidential dress code. While helping to paint a playground as part of Kimmie’s unique playground initiative and visiting Becky Primary School in Monrovia, M.I.A. revels in how brightly the spirit of the Liberian people still shines, despite all the suffering they have endured from 14 years of civil war.
M.I.A., a native of Sri Lanka and herself a child of war, understands the importance of giving children, especially survivors of war, hope. "I think the future of Liberia is very positive,” M.I.A. says. “I see the greatness in Liberia.”
Before she leaves, she throws a rousing block party, M.I.A.-style, that the neighborhood’s kids will not soon forget.
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4REAL connects individuals with people, projects and tools to make change real. Aspects include a global online community, online tools for change, 4REAL Productions, and educational materials.
The lead 4REAL production is a TV series called 4REAL that takes celebrity guests on adventures around the world to connect with young leaders who, under extreme circumstances, are effecting real change on some of the most pressing issues of our time. Celebrity guests for Season One are Cameron Diaz, Mos Def, Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes, Casey Affleck, K'NAAN, M.I.A., and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Beyond the exposure that 4REAL provides, the young leaders featured are partners in the show, with 50 percent of the proceeds going directly to their initiatives. 4REAL has aired globally on National Geographic Channels International in 165 countries and 34 languages, as well as on The CW channel in the U.S. and on CTV and MTV in Canada.