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.: Can Harry Potter save the world II :.

"(…) I get by with a little help from my friends."
With a little help from my friends, The Beatles.

About one week ago, I started telling you how the series can help the world be a better place to live in. I told you some individual stories of people who gained relief, hope, and came into the wonderful world of reading, simply by being Harry Potter fans. Now, it’s time to go beyond the plain "magic" and delve into stories of unbelievable unselfishness.

When it comes to charity, our cherished J.K. Rowling is doing her part to help correct the world’s misbalance of welfare. The author has participated in a lot of beneficent events, raising considerable money for lots of different aid foundations. In 2006, for example, she read alongside Stephen King and John Irving at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, donating money to two different organizations. She also helped Madeleine McCann, a British girl who was kidnapped in Portugal, to safely return home. Not to mention plenty of other events that she is into.

Nonetheless, Jo is more famous for her contributions to Comic Relief and the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland. The former, a charity association created in response to famine in Ethiopia whose goal is "a just world free from poverty", in 2001 asked some bestselling British authors to help them. The writers needed to write some booklets, and every pound they earned they would return towards the combat of poverty across the globe. Of course, Rowling was among them. The books Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages were written by her for Comic Relief’s cause, raising more than US$ 30 million together. She’s also personally donated some amount of money to it.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, on the other hand, is an organization that, according to themselves, "provides information to people affected by MS, and those working with them." MS is "an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord)" - I got this from the Medical Encyclopedia - from which Jo’s mother died in 1990. The writer was heavily affected by her death, and in 2006, she decided to support the Society.

What’s mesmerizing about Jo is that, with all the money she’s got, she still helps others and isn’t interested in flamboyance and futile money-wasting. In an article named "What does JK Rowling do with her money?" , Alison Boshoff quotes a friend of Jo's, who says: "The point about Jo, is that she doesn't want to be flashy or ostentatious, ever. She wants to be left alone to have a normal family life." She’s an ordinary woman who suddenly became rich and famous, and is savoring this fact without forgetting her roots and the ones who are in need. If every rich person in the world would be like her, we would surely be living in a better place.

Not only does Jo contribute to improving our world; so do the actors. Dan Radcliffe, for instance, has supported various charities, the most famous being Demelza House Children's Hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent. The actor has requested fans make donations to aid foundations, instead of buying him birthday presents (or as a kind of gift…). Alan Rickman, who stars as Professor Snape, is another star that is socially conscientious. He has made "Closet Land" in 1991 in support of Amnesty International. He has also supported a lot of different charities and causes, according to his page on "Look to the Stars", a web-site focused on showing everyone which actors are into philanthropy. Check out other actors of the series there, too.

What about the unknown people who are related to Harry Potter? Do they copycat Jo and the others, and show that you don’t need to be a millionaire to be an altruist person? If you answered "no", you probably haven’t pored over The Snitch. Besides supporting "The Children's High Level Group", (to read more click on the word "Charities" on the left-menu) we from The Snitch have been organizing a charity event called "Bookmarks With Benefits". The idea is to create "a way to call a "truce" to all of the fighting and to put aside our differences of opinions and an end to the harsh and brutal negativity that has arisen from the wars that have ensued over the years in the Harry Potter fandom". After all, we all are "J.K. Rowling's fans, through and through", aren’t we?

In order to do it, we can "come together to help two charities that help others". Those are the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, which I’ve already spoken of; and the Invisible Children, that is "determined to inform the world of the atrocities occurring in Northern Uganda, and to inspire the desire to affect change in the area". There, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerilla group that attempts to "overthrow the Ugandan government (…) has been committing horrifying acts of violence against the people of Northern Uganda. And children are certainly not spared for their innocence. They are abducted by the LRA in order to serve the group and, among other things, are terrorized into training to be guerillas and concubines. Young girls are abused in the most nightmarish of ways, including being given as gifts to arms dealers. These young ones are also forced to kill other children who attempt, unsuccessfully, to escape. Many of these children taken by the LRA are never found again." We, Harry Potter fans, can give hope to all these people by buying a "Bookmark", here at The Snitch. All the money raised will be reverted to the two foundations. Will you be part of it?

The books seem to be able to do more than create "a halo of comfort and coziness around everyone who reads it" (I’m quoting myself now). They also produce a sense of collectiveness and bonding, which appears to make people feel more connected to each other. Jo’s philanthropic efforts, along with the actors’, are great examples to one and all. So is The Snitch’s initiative to call out "peace" among the Harry Potter’s fans by getting everyone together to help those who need. There’s much more in the Harry Potter fandom, though. In the last part of this Special Edition of Harry Potter Around the World, I’ll show you stories that blend the first two parts: people that manage to use the books to bright a light at the end of the tunnel for the others.

What about you? What have you done for the ones in need?

See you all soon.

Bruno Miquelino

P.S. Once more, thanks to Dixie for all the support.

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