Every now and again we like to stop and marvel at some of the incredible things our models and actors get up to when they're not busy looking fabulous in front of a camera. Proving that Team SR are more than just pretty faces, we want to introduce you to some remarkable individuals.
Meet model and activist Oscar K.
Please tell our readers about yourself, your activism work and what you stand for?
I was born in The Democratic Republic of Congo (the DRC), it was a very dangerous place to be as there was a war going on. 2.7 million children have died in the DRC because of the war and there are many children who are now completely alone and without parents. Boys like myself are taken from their families and forced to become child soldiers, these boys are then forced to kill and rape others - sometimes members of their own families.
Being brought up in a war and having to move from place to place to stay alive, meant that I did not have a place to call home. We lost everything that was important and familiar to us, including family, friends and our home; I have seen things that no child should ever have to see. Despite all of this, I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones, as I was able to come to the UK with my siblings however, I know that it is truly frightening to be brought up in a conflict zone and therefore I feel passionate about helping children who are not as fortunate as me.
What charity/ies do you work with and how do they support the cause?
After being in the UK for a couple of years, I made contact with a fantastic charity War Child UK.
War Child protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children in war, they work with children in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and the DRC. They deliver long-term, sustainable food assistance, education, rehabilitation and psychosocial support to the most vulnerable children. I cannot stress the amount of fantastic work they do. I have been an Ambassador for War Child UK for many years and am so grateful that they have enabled me to raise awareness and get my voice heard.
Their work truly sounds incredible...What was it that made you get into fundraising and working with War Child UK?
In 2012, I witnessed the London Olympics and loved it, this inspired me to get into cycling. Two years later, I dedicated myself to training for a sponsored bike ride around the Norfolk Broads after which I cycled 85 miles in one day and raised over £3,500, in doing so I helped 250 refugee children get shelter, education some form of normality. The following year I was awarded 'Best Young Fundraiser' at the IoF National Fundraising Awards 2015. At this point, I saw what I could do and knew I wanted to do more to make a change, so no one thing 'made' me want to do it, instead it harnessed my desire to change the world.
You have also told your story to some amazing audiences, can you tell our readers about your public speaking?
I got into public speaking at the age of 13, this was only three years after learning to read, write and speak English. From thereafter, it has just come naturally to me, every time I'm asked 'do you get nervous on stage?' my response is always the same: there are far scarier things in the world than standing on a stage and talking to people.
I have been given some amazing opportunities to tell my story. I have spoken at the House of Commons on two occasions, been interviewed on Radio 4’s Today Programme and even introduced acts onto stage including Ed Sheeran, Take That, The Stereophonics, Biffy Clyro and The 1975. I have also had articles in The Guardian, The Evening Standard and The Huffington Post.
In addition, I have spoken at a number of high profile “private” fundraising functions in front of rooms full of business people, actors, singers, footballers and travelled to New York to speak at similar events for War Child’s sister organisation in the USA, Children in Conflict
. These events have been hosted by Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, who are fantastic and very hands-on Ambassadors for War Child UK.
Whilst it has been a great experience to meet so many well-known people, the real privilege has been sharing my story with them, and raising much-needed funds to help children like myself. I hope I am able to continue to do so for a very long time!
Discover more about War Child UK here