When Ed Sheeran filmed a documentary for the Comic Relief movement, he took a trip to Liberia. But for him, it was more than just his duty as a celebrity – he knew he wanted to help those in need. What he learned while he was there broke his heart.
We often hear about horrors and injustices taking place in the world, and far too often its children that are affected.
Too few intervene, in the main because the problems are so far removed from their every day lives that they don’t seem to matter. And yet, when music icon Ed Sheeran saw what homeless boys in Liberia are exposed to, he couldn’t simply move on with his life without taking action.
He ended up saving the life of a little boy named JD, and several of his friends. They’d been raped and beaten several times.
When Ed Sheeran, one of the world’s best-selling performers, saw what conditions were like in Liberia, it hit him hard. He decided to be part of a documentary filmed for Comic Relief, one depicting how common it is for little homeless boys to be raped and abused simply because there are no adults to protect them.
Sheeran got especially close with one of the boys – a child named JD – who moved him to tears with his life story. Despite the fact he’d been raped, robbed and abused by older children, he had retained a sense of joy and held secret dreams of one day becoming president.
Ed Sheeran acts
Sheeran promised to save JD and his friends from their terrible lives – a promise he kept even when the cameras had stopped rolling.
At first Sheeran simply wanted to ensure the kids were moved away from the slum.
As per the Daily Mail, he said: “My natural instinct is to just put them in a car and just take them and just put them in a hotel until we can get them sorted.”
Then the thought struck home: “Can we do that? Can I pay to put them in a house until we get them in a school?”
It didn’t take long for him to make good on his promise. Sheeran purchased a house in Liberia’s capital. There, the five boys met and were looked after by a lady named Ma. They were safe; they were away from the slums.
Houses for homeless children
Sheeran’s next goal was to help them move forward with their lives, so he saw to it that each child was placed in a school to get an education and eventually have a better shot at realising their dreams.
The boys, who had been raped and beaten and suffered from terrible nightmares each night, now have a life of safety. More than that, they have the promise of a future.
“I’m very glad that I will start school soon. I want to be president, so I have to study hard. When I’m president I’ll help the other children,” JD said.
JD has big dreams. He wants to be the president one day and work to ensure that all children can go to school and that all families have food. He misses going to school and life has been rough for him. He and his five friends live on a single cup of water and a small piece of bread daily, and every day is dangerous for them. They have been beaten, raped, and stolen from, although they already have nothing.
But after filming wrapped, Ed Sheeran couldn’t leave JD and his friends alone there. He knew he had to do something. So he brought them to Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, and set up JD and his five friends in a house with his own money, where a woman named Ma oversees them and looks after them.
JD can’t wait to start going to school again, and he loves having someone who cares for him again. He’s thankful to Ed and those filming the documentary for helping him, and we have to give kudos to Ed for truly doing all that he could.
After meeting JD – a young boy who lost his mother and grandfather to Ebola and was abandoned by his father – the ‘Shape Of You’ singer was hearbroken to see that he was forced to live on the street, sleeping in a small boat where he was regularly at risk of violence. ‘Once we’re done here, we’re going to pack up the camera and these guys are going to be sleeping in a canoe at night with a lot of dangerous people about, wake up in the morning and try and fend for themselves’, Ed says.
This boy desperately wanted an education, he wanted to become President so that he could build schools and feed the community. But his ambitions seemed far out of reach until Ed came along. ‘Really does not feel right leaving at all’, he told his camera crew. ‘The only thing we can do is help them which we should.’
‘My natural instinct is to just put them in a car and just take them. Just put them somewhere in the city and put them in a hotel until we can get them sorted’, he continued. ‘Can we do that? Can I pay for them to stay in a house until we get them in a school? It doesn’t matter how much it is we’ll just get him and his five mates in a house with an older person to look after them. I don’t think we should go until that’s sorted.’
Eventually, the team did just that and got the boys to a safe place, giving them the future that they deserve.
Well done Ed Sheeran! Imagine if more famous people were so empathetic and committed to helping other people in need. Share this to honour Ed and the other heroes who do their utmost to help the least fortunate of the world.