Two best friends who decided to set up a lemonade stand to help raise funds for Yemen during their summer break have received an unexpected donation from an A-list benefactor: the actress Angelina Jolie, it was reported on Thursday.
Ayaan Moosa and Mikaeel Ishaaq, who are aged six and live in Redbridge, east London, decided to set up their well-named “Lemonade for Yemen-Aid” appeal after hearing about the crisis in the country on the news.
The deadly 5-year conflict in Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the world, has displaced almost 4 million people from their homes, and an estimated 24 million people — 80% of the entire population — require humanitarian aid to survive.
"They have no food, they have to drink dirty water, they've got really skinny arms, and it made me really sad," Moosa told ITV News in August.
The boys had already had a lot of success with their fundraising efforts — raising almost £5,000 with their stall during the month of August and getting some media attention.
But their appeal has since gone viral and the Hollywood factor has boosted donations from around the world, Ayaan’s mum, Adeela Moosa, told the BBC. They have now raised £67,000, she said, and have revised their target fundraiser goal to £100,000.
The Tomb Raider and Maleficent star Jolie sent an undisclosed donation along with a personal note to Moosa and Ishaaq last weekend, the family told reporters. They received a “lovely note” and a “very generous donation”, Adeela Moosa said.
The note read: "Thank you for what you and your friends are doing to help children in Yemen. I’m sorry I am not able to buy a lemonade from you, but I would still like to make a donation to your stand.”
The boys have since shared a video to their Instagram account, thanking the star.
Alongside her acting, Jolie is a special envoy for the UNHCR – the United’s Nations refugee agency, and has regularly spoken about the crisis in Yemen, advocating for a cease-fire in 2018.
While the boys are raising funds through various platforms (their lemondade stand being one of them) their Just Giving appeal, can be found here.