Jolie, mother of Maddox, 4, from Cambodia, and Zahara, 10 months, from Ethiopia, was on Capitol Hill to celebrate the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act, which President Bush signed last week. She also called for the U.S. to fully fund the new law.
"My daughter Zahara was orphaned because of AIDS. She is one of one million children in Ethiopia that are orphaned by AIDS, so I don't have to tell you how precious I think these children are." Jolie said.
Jolie says watching her daughter's progress is what convinced her of the importance of the legislation, which establishes a framework for a response to the crisis of orphans and other vulnerable children. "She was just 9 lbs. and she was almost 7 months old. She was really not doing so well. In the matter of a month, with basic food every kid gets … she weighed twice as much, she was healthy, and it didn't take much at all."
Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N, says she'll monitor the progress of aid for the new law, which still needs to be backed up by $340 million in funding, according to Rep. Barbara Lee D-Calif.
"By fully funding this legislation, we would be saying to the world that we believe that the life of a child in the poorest country is just as important, just as valuable, as the lives of the children in the United States," said Jolie.