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Angie Harmon: Teaching Awareness with a Trip

12/07/2011 at 04:00 PM ET
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Life is pretty good when you’re growing up with a television star mom and a former NFL pro dad.

But Angie Harmon wants to expose her three daughters to other ways of living, so this January the actress is packing up the whole family and heading to impoverished areas of India with UNICEF.

“I want to create an awareness in them from an early age,” the Rizzoli & Isles star, 39, tells PEOPLE during UNICEF’s Snowflake Ball on Nov. 29 in New York.

“It is, literally, to teach my children that not everyone has a home or running water or food.”

And while her daughters — Finley Faith, 8, Avery Grace, 6½, and Emery Hope, 3 this month — may have trouble relating to the contrasting circumstances, Harmon is determined they at least gain a sense of compassion.

“They’re sweet, sweet girls, and I don’t expect them to understand poverty or the way some other children grow up,” she says. “But I do expect them to start being aware. So we’re taking them. I thought I’d hit it right at the heart.”

As Harmon and husband Jason Sehorn plan the trip, they’re also taking into consideration the maturity levels of their children.

“The 8-year-old is only going to do certain things that she can handle,” Harmon explains. “The 6-year-old and the 2-year-old will do totally different things. But it is time. I want my children to understand at a young age that they are very, very blessed.”

Choosing the North Carolina foothills over the Hollywood Hills makes it slightly easier to keep their girls grounded, admits Harmon, adding, teaching them is ultimately “a household thing.”

– Asher Fogle

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Showing 79 comments

Anonymous on

Congrats to Angie for this step.

steelcitytarana on

This is insulting. My country is not a zoo. Ms. Harmon – you do realize there is so much that can be learnt from India apart from the poverty you are so excited to witness. Also – going all the way to India? You do realize you don’t have to go too far for this, right? One example http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/07/homeless-children-homeless-students_n_832415.html

Seriously – what can I expect from someone who endorses Sarah Palin. Poverty is not Russia, Ms. Harmon – you can literally find it in your own backyard.

jones on

I tend to agree with the other poster that Angie does not need to travel to another country to teach her girls about poverty and how fortunate they are.

My parents had us volunteer when we were little within our own community. We learned how lucky our family was simply by reaching out to others in our own community who were struggling.

I applaud her teaching her girls about the fact that they are privileged, but she could also do that within the US.

Jamie on

Agreed, I bet she could travel less than 100 miles and find poverty strong enough to provide this lesson, as well as teach that poverty is EVERYWHERE.

liz on

I never comment on these threads but kudos to you steelcitytarana! You are so right. I would love for every nation to be able to put an end to homelessness and poverty but I have always said why aren’t we looking at our own country! There are plenty of children in need of help, home, food, clothes. Are we too proud or egocentric, as a nation, to admit we have the same problems!?!

If the “rich” really woke up they would have to admit their greed. Some people in the capital might need to take a pay cut to help HUMAN BEINGS in our great nation. Phew!

dawn on

steelcitytarana – geeze! what the heck was that all about. It’s not like she and her girls are donating their outdated cell phones or last seasons hair extensions. You make them sound like rich snobs going to India to look down their noses at your countrymen.

They are going with Unicef to help those in need. How you can find fault in what they are doing is pure hatefullness on your part. Sure we could argue all day on what “charity” is the most worthy, but if everyone did as much as she is doing how could that be a bad thing???

Gena on

@steelcitytarana Seriously – what can I expect from someone who endorses Sarah Palin …

Really? Just because she is a republican , doesn’t make her a bad person. Her heart is in the right place. I am sure she will show that they are great places in India too. Atleast her kids aren’t growing up spoiled brats, but good childern with good head on their shoulders.

Heck Angelina does the same thing with her kids. Shows them that there are people in the world that need help too.

katie on

i think it is fantastic to take your children to another country on a unicef mission and expose them to different cultures, needs, concerns and issues – i applaud you.

whatever on

I really hope she is not part of missionary work. Because missionaries are a billion dollar industry. To summarize India was highly developed and way ahead of other areas of the world before it was destroyed by Islamic invaders for 700 years (between 9th and 15th centuries), 100 million innocent Hindus/Buddhists murdered, several more millions forcibly converted to Islam, lands grabbed, stolen and made Muslim lands (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh), their materialistic and intellectual wealth stolen (one ex: number system we use today was invented in India before it was stolen by Arab invaders and introduced to the west as Arabic Number System). Then 200 years of British occupation finished up the looting and stealing. After the country is stolen, broken down, their research, culture, education etc are permanently damaged and people are brought to their knees, missionaries step in, give us fresh stories of poverty to collect millions and use that money to manipulate (and create negative propaganda of their ancient religion) and convert the rest of the Indians. This never seems to stop. First destruction and then sympathy help to the same place they destroyed. And now they will send people to learn from the poverty. Hinduism is the only major religion in the world (other than Judaism) that doesn’t proselytize, doesn’t use holy wars, fear, manipulation, money, negative propaganda to convert other people to their religion. They just don’t have that concept. Only the two major Abrahmic religions of the world (we all know what two they are) do all this. It breaks my heart that this never stops because they are too powerful.

justme on

@steelcity
yes, she Could look for poverty in her own backyard, but she has additional options. while she’s building character in her children she can also sneak in an overseas trip. what’s wrong with that?

Laurie on

Angie is introducing her daughters not only to a country that will clearly show the need for compassion and assisance, but she’s also introducing them to a fantastic organization, UNICEF. Learning at a young age to appreciate and contribute time and monies to charitable organizations is key to fostering that sense of responsibility as an adult.

Yes, the United States has areas that need help, but many living within the confines of the US are entitled and waiting for a hand out. Some people are in their situations due to their own recklessness and consumer-driven lifestyles. Most of the needs abroad deal with children born into poverty, they didn’t have a choice.

Don’t bash this person for their efforts to teach her children a valuable lesson, take lead from her example and help those that you feel most motivated to assist.

KKH on

I think the people getting all fired about her going to India to show a facet of poverty are missing the fact that she is going with UNICEF. She has worked with them for some time, and apparently she chose this trip to bring her daughters on. She didn’t look it up a guide or something. Nor did she choose it because it is the only place that deals with poverty.

Holy Cow, ease up, people. Here is someone trying to teach her children and either due to ignorance or jealousy, people jump on the “I’m Offended” wagon. Relax and assume the good in people for once.

Annie on

I agree this is very insulting. I do not understand why the elite in this country choose third world countries abroad when they can see the sadness in their own country, on their very doorsteps.

If we as a country stopped handing out money to all these third world countries, money which we borrowed from CHINA we would be in a much better situation.

I understand she has good intentions, but it is pretty arrogant and attention seeking in my opinion.

Leigh on

Wow….good for her. And yes as some of you have said there is poverty everywhere. Even here in the US.

As someone who has traveled to the poorest of the poor countries though I can only say until you have seen it with your own eyes you cannot imagine what extreme life threatening poverty truly looks like. How many dying children did you step over this morning on your way to work? How many 6 year olds that have no family and sleep and eat in the trash pile did you see? That is not the exception, that is the rule in so many places.

So yes, I understand that we have people here that need help and I am thankful we have systems in place to help people. But don’t judge Angie for wanting her kids to see the poorest of the poor. I hope they grow up changed because of what they see and have the desire to make a difference in the world instead of shopping all day and having their own reality TV show.

Bella on

I think it’s wonderful what Angie’s doing! UNICEF is a fantastic organisation.

If she was a democrat, I’m willing to bet everyone would be gushing about her doing this.

Blackberry on

I’m an American living in India. I feel her plans are insulting and so would many people around here.

Why doesn’t she show her daughters the reality of life in the United States? Life there is not all perfect, and believe me there is much poverty! They should learn compassion for the ones they live around, not traipse across the world on some exotic trip to ogle at people they will never see again.

What a waste of money, but then again…. what else do stars have to do with their money other than throw it around?

kathy on

The foothills of NC is not where she lives. She lives in the nice, expensive part of Charlotte, which is about 90 minutes from the foothills.

Beth on

I find the zoo comment offensive. There was no reference in the article that she is treating this visit like a trip to the zoo. She is going with UNICEF. It sounds like she is joining together with them to bring public awareness.

I do agree that we have many people here that need help. It should start at home. Don’t knock someone trying to do good.

JRW on

Angelina Jolie collects babies from around the globe and is praised as a saint. Angie Harmon does charity work out of the country and its raked over the coals. For the life of me I will never understand the hypocrisy of the crazies that respond on these stories…

e m on

I agree with @steelcity, she could have easily said that she is teaching the kids about another culture and also about people who are less fortunate in that country.

To sum all of India up as a poor and desperate country is not only ignorant but also racist. Maybe teaching her children about the lower income families in this country would also involve having to explain anti-equality politics, so she has to travel all the way across the world.

It is pathetic that in this day and age, she is not able to understand countries and culture as a heterogeneous mix but rather as a stereotype, show her own narrow minded view of the world.

Shimmer on

APPLAUSE FOR liz on December 9th, 2011 – Very well put. Why would you need to highlight poverty in another country to say your teaching your kids?? I mean, dont you have any moral ground.

Besides that I agree UNICEF is great charity. But look at USA first…recession for like 10 years now and people are suffering with no jobs…people are suffering. Walking down the road I see beggars around me everywhere i go…sitting no nothing with them. wake up…USA isnt that GREAT country anymore. We need to look at the holes in our place before we try to look at other countries.

Hannah on

That is wonderful! I also hope you show your daughters right here in the US there are hungry children, that some children will not have a Christmas, or wonder what or if they are going to have supper and when they get older go to school just to eat, and there are homeless children that live in shelters!

steelcitytarana on

For all of you jumping on my neck:

I would not have had an issue at all if there had been an ounce of sensitivity in that article – all I see is the sense of entitlement there. So she’s going with UNICEF. Big deal. She can go with whoever she wants to go with – that isn’t going to change the motivation behind her “let’s go feed the poors” safari.

I do think I should have refrained from pointing out her affinity for Ms. Palin – that was uncalled for. However, I would have had the same exact reaction had she been Democrat or Green or Martian. I just want some acknowledgement that my country is not being uni-dimensionally equated with poverty and backwardness. Yes, large swathes of my country do not have running water and electricity, we are working in the direction of fixing it.

We have so much more going for us. Don’t essentialize and trivialize us, Ms. Harmon & Co. We are, after all, a billion and counting – there’s more than one facet to be admired or sneered at. And, instead of spending all that money on a trip, go volunteer at a soup kitchen.

laralynley on

she is teaching her daughters that when you go to an impoverished part of the world you tell People magazine about it.

Claire on

I agree with many other people who posted. Who cares what country she’s doing charitable work in?? Yes, she could help people in the United States instead of India. Does that mean the people in the United States are more entitled to help than people in other countries? People all over the world are in desperate need of charitable help. It doesn’t matter where she instills good values in her children, the important thing is that she’s doing it.

Children of celebrities (hell, children everywhere) could really benefit from having parents like Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn.

Sarah on

I can never understand why people think they have to travel halfway around the world to a “third world country” to understand poverty when all they have to do is look in their own backyard. There are so many people in this country who are hungry and don’t have a roof over their head and don’t know what tomorrow will be like for them. If you want to teach your children that not everyone has running water or a home or food, take a look outside your door!

And honestly, if that’s all she intends to teach her children about India, what a waste of a trip. There is so much more to learn from a country so rich in culture and heritage.

Sabrina on

Ms Harmom will also surely videotape (and have televised) her “family vacation” in the hopes that the world will see her as such a noble person, and that she too is capable of making such a sacrifice going into poor and desolate regions like so many other stars do when they want to keep their names in the news -but don’t have a movie in the works. I think the mere fact that this story is being talked about is no mistake on the part of her handlers, but simply promotional.

Kasee on

Yes, Annie, good God, how dare people help other HUMANS in other countries who live in conditions most people in the U.S. couldn’t imagine in their worst nightmares? It never ceases to amaze me how people think that because someone is American, they have to help an American in order to be doing good. She is a human helping other humans.

Steelcitytarana, I must have missed the part where she said she was taking her daughters to India to see how everyone there is poor and downtrodden. Then again, I’m sure if she said she planned a trip to India to stay in a fabulous resort and show them the Taj Mahal, you would have criticized her then too.

Maybe she is trying to be public about it in order to raise awareness for UNICEF. Maybe she is being public to get credit for it, who knows, but the more important thing here is that she is attempting to build a sense of communal responsibility and compassion in her children, not just for those who share the same nationality, but for humankind as a whole.

Hudson on

Unfortunately this article and her ‘trip’ sound trite. I would agree that the article reads insulting to the exquisite country of India. We have more than enough poverty and dire circumstances in our own backyard.

As a mother of 3 myself of course I agree with exposing your children to the realities of our world & doing everything in our power as parents to make them compassionate, thoughtful, helpful individuals—Yes, a trip like this is priceless and commendable…but, not the way it was described.

As an American who has traveled to India, I assure you the life-long impressions that this country makes is it’s rich history, extreme natural beauty and most importantly a vast culture of welcoming people who continue to teach us lessons long after we leave their country. India is a true testament to humanity.

Sure Angie should use her abundance to expose her children to the world, and bravo for using your resources to help Unicef, but the way in which the article was posted – as well as her comments – definitely makes it sound a bit patronizing and oh so privileged.

Anonymous on

JRW- Angelina praised as a saint? Are you kidding me?! She gets raked over the coals left and right for adopting (I’ll just say that your comment is hardly the first one I’ve seen accusing her of collecting children!), allowing Shiloh to be her wonderful, unique stuff by wearing boy’s clothes, not taking proper care of Zahara’s hair, doing charity work, being with Brad Pitt…basically, you name it, she gets criticized for it.

In fact, I would venture to say that she is one of the most criticized celebs out there. Believe me, the critcism being thrown at Angie Harmon is tame compared to some of the downright vicious remarks hurled at Angelina!

But anyway, to get back on topic, I think what Angie Harmon is doing is wonderful. Her daughters will get a chance to see a different culture, and to see that not everyone is nearly as fortunate as they are.

I agree that there are definitely people and places here in the U.S. that need our help as well, but as a whole we’re pretty darn well off compared to some countries! For example, very few if any people here in the states are forced to drink sewage contaminated water, go for weeks or even months on end with very little to no food, or basically, as another poster said, live in a a pile of trash and waste.

But sadly, that is the reality for a lot of people in developing countries. And who knows? Maybe Angie’s daughters will be inspired to return to India some day (and thus end up seeing those people again)! :)

Gena on

Someone back the topic up here. People who are bashing Angie. How do you know that she is not not teaching charity work in the USA? That’s right. You don’t. You are not her or her family. You don’t know her personaly. All of you are just people online reading a story.

I am sure UNICEF works right here in the USA. I bet Angie works with them.

Let me get this straight. It’s ok to adopt from other countries, but just not help any countries other then adopting thier kids? WOW! that’s truly sad.

Go Angie!!!

Mila on

Steelcityrana – you can say whatever you want. The reality is that better off people in your country treat the poor like dirt. You exploit them and avoid them at all times. You should be the one getting off your high horse. While your country is beautiful and intriguing, I have never seen the amount of poverty and indifference towards the poor and needy as I saw in India.

I’m pretty sure that this is not exclusive to India but this is what I saw in your country. Small children not going to school, dirty and starving, begging on the streets for a meal. Hordes of people lining up in front of restaurants in Old Delhi waiting for leftovers to he handed out to them so they could have a meal. The elderly poor living in tents on the streets of Agra and Jaipur and nobody caring. People working without end for the middle class for a couple of rupees a day; not even enough to feed their family.

I traveled all over India with my husband, who by the way is Indian, and what did we encounter on the roads on a daily basis – corrupt “stick cops” stopping us at every single turn for bribes. We always paid to avoid been hassled by them but we saw them beating their own people with their sticks when they couldn’t weasel a couple of rupees from them. The reality is that India, needs to do more for the poor and root out corruption.

I feel blessed that I was able to see your beautiful country but came back heartbroken at the atrocities that I witness there. Imagine what I did not see. My husband was heartbroken as well – after being away for 4 years he was expecting progress but found what he described as “we are going backwards instead of forward”; he did not put blinders on like you.

I will definitely visit India again because of the beauty of it but be let’s be honest here – the poor is in fact cast aside as unwanted and a burden while better off people exploit them without any regard for them.

Julia on

For the posters who are getting upset that Indians are offended, they have every right to feel this way. I am surprised that Ms. Harmon who is generally a level headed individual would choose to not weigh her words more carefully. She can visit any slum in America and teach her kids the same lesson. Take them to India to see a place rich in history and culture.

Lia on

There are people in America with no food or running water…you don’t need to go on a plane to see that.

steelcitytarana on

Mila…

I’m not on a high horse. What bothers me is when people come to India and see nothing but the poverty and the diseases. Every country has these issues. I don’t like the essentializing. I believe you are doing the same exact thing that Ms. Harmon is doing. That’s like me saying, hey – the US is full of promiscuity, racism, crime, after having lived here for a month, because I did see examples of each one of the above in my first month here. I don’t say that because I believe this country is more than the sum of my immediate impressions.

I love this country, and I love my home India too… and when you say what you do, it bothers me, because for every homeless person you see, I see the blind school my mother volunteers at, the self financed group in Udaipur where women make handicrafts and support their families to live with dignity and independence. You choose to see what you see, like Ms. Harmon and you will gain only a sense of superiority that way. Congratulations, I’m sure superiority feels nice.

Have a nice day.

Patti on

@- steelcitytarana, why a negative response to something that may shed positive light on your country? My husband is from Indonesia and he speaks often of the poverty there as well as India. He traveled to the SW section of India last year to install medical equipment and found that things have not changed in the way of poverty or need.

Yes, Ms. Harmon could get in her car and travel into the Blue Ridge Mountains and find poverty for miles, poverty is everywhere- so why be offended? My brother lived on the streets because I would not enable his alcholism. I had tried and failed. In a similar response to Ms. Harmon and teaching her daughters of poverty, I took my teenage daughter’s in the 1990’s to meet their cousin who was dying from AIDS.

A lesson learned should not matter from what source but, to be taught and recognized and in hopes to inspire for a better world for all.

And for the few who had to drag politics into it, so what Ms. Harmon is a Republican? Homelessness, poverty and illness doesn’t care what your politics are- we all are vulnerable to it.

karla on

First of all, India is in fact an impoverished country. Second of all wanting to teach your children to be grateful is a good thing.

Dont be ashamed to come from proverty and or a less fortunate background.

Rich people also want their children to experience gratefulness…

Angie was brought up in a very affluent life, mostly rasied by her father…so basically she was taught to respect and appreciate her life and she is intelligent enough to pass it to her children.

Holiday on

So let me get this straight, she is going to India with UNICEF and people think this is a bad thing because there are poor people in America? This has to be the worst complaint I have ever heard on this site. I think its a wonderful thing she is doing and wish I could do something like that and hope to someday.

Haley on

Yes, the United States has many areas of poverty and many places where people can help out each other. I’d venture to say that if Angie Harmom is is bent on taking her kids on this trip, she is already helping out at home. Most people that I know who do international aid work short term are also doing all they can to help their neighbors at home.

Have you ever seen a 2 year old baby in the US that weighs less than 10 pounds? Have you ever seen a baby with a flat head because he sleeps on concrete every night? Have you ever met women who are raped on a regular basis because they live in train stations and parking lots- completely vulnerable to men (and policeman) who see them as less than animals?

Probably not if you are looking in the US- our poor are quite rich compared to most of the world. Not to say they don’t need help, but it is a pointlss arguement to say that we are facing the same problems here in our own country as those in developing nations.

I totally agree that we should be helping people in our own country, but I will NEVER agree that we should stop traveling to other countries and being a voice for people who don’t have one. I wish my mom had taken me to India as a child- I probably would have been a lot different as a teenager.

Neena on

@steelcitytarana

I am an Indian living in the United States, though granted I have not actually lived in India for significant periods of time. My parents, however, were born and raised in India in significant poverty. My father tells me stories of when he was growing up and what it meant to be poor in India at the time. The stories he tells me are incomprehensible to me for I have lived a very comfortable life.

We are by no means rich, but we have never wanted to for food or shelter, for which I am very grateful. He tells me everyday how happy he is that he was able to provide such a life for me, how he never allowed himself to dream of being able to live as he is now. I do not count myself an expert in poverty but I have an understanding of what it is. I know how my family in India lives, and I see how the countless others in the country live as well.

Poverty is everywhere and, as you pointed out quite clearly, the United States has no shortage of it. However, what the United States has is the soup kitchens you want Ms. Harmon to volunteer in. The United States has food stamps, tax breaks, federal grant money, housing for the homeless, countless shelters, etc. There are many places to look for help when you need it. There are resources. There are options. Poverty to many people in the US is a small cramped two bedroom apartment with a kitchen, a bathroom, running water, and electricity in the projects, only one television, and the inability to pay one’s cellphone bill.

Poverty in India is unimaginable to those who have not lived it and I will not disrespect their lives by pretending to understanding what it entails. But I am sure you understand what I am saying. For the vast majority of people in India, there are NO options. None. They cannot go anywhere to get help. There are so many people that the country cannot handle it. There are just too many people, each one living in worse conditions than the other.

Regardless of what you try to tell me, it is not the same in the United States. Please do not disrespect the country you so love by claiming that the United States has a fraction of the poverty that is in India. And before anyone tries to tell me I hate the American poor, I do not. I am by no means trivialising their lives but I will not pretend that they are worse off or living in the same conditions as the Indian poor. That is simply a fact and how you feel about it will not change its accuracy.

Ma’am (forgive me, I am assuming you are a woman. If you are not, my sincerest apologies; I mean you no disrespect), you are absolutely correct when you say that there is much more to India than its poverty. India is absolutely stunning, the people, history, and culture even more so. It is a nation of colour, of happiness, of joy, even in the most difficult of realities. They persevere. They live.

They also disrespect and degrade themselves. They treat the poorest amongst them worse than any outsider ever will. Many of them thrive on their poverty, and please do not deny it. Many times the beggars are scam artists that have plenty of money at home. The poor people that are given jobs do not want to do their jobs and still want to be paid. Many of them do this: they get a job, they skip out, and then they come back weeks later demanding their money. And if, by mistake, you hire someone else, they threaten you or the other person you hired. All of this also happens in the United States, this I will not deny. However, the people on whose behalf you are so indignant are not all entirely worthy.

There are many people working hard to change the direction of the country. There are many people that have set up clinics, schools, etc. for the poor. There are people fighting for the poor. But there are simply too many people. It will take a long while before India will be able to take care of its own people. Until the time comes, what shame is there in taking help of people whose hearts are in the right places? Or even those whose hearts are not in the right place. If it will help the country, why not take their help? There will be time to change India’s reputation in the world. There is not enough time to save the countless children that die everyday of preventable problems. There is not enough time to give every single child, Indian and from everywhere else, the childhood each and each everyone of them deserves.

From what Ms. Harmon has said, I agree that it sounds like her understanding of India is somewhat limited at the moment. But why are we criticising her when we should be overjoyed that she will go to India and get the opportunity to see everything else that India has to offer? If us Indo-Americans criticise every American that sees only India’s poverty, not only will we be talking for a very long time, we will be hindering our nation from prospering.

We should take every single opportunity to educate them. They are ignorant; forgive them for they know not what they say nor do. But we know what India is. We can show them. Let them learn. Do not be so petty and superior to suggest that they cannot be redeemed. If we remain this petty and nitpick every humanitarian action a celebrity undertakes, we will remain in the position we are in. Teach the world what it does not know.

I love India very much as well, and I know how much it hurts to see such splendor reduced to such nothingness. But we must be selfish for the children who cannot be selfish for themselves. I do not care why Ms. Harmon or Ms. Jolie or anyone else is going to help my sisters and brothers so long as they help my brethren.

I commend you for seeing past the poverty into the beauty that lies within each Indian soul. But the beauty does not change the fact that the poverty is there. The true humanitarian should be able to see both.

AnnieT on

last time I checked we had plenty of poverty here for your children to witness Angie Harmon.

steelcitytarana on

Neena and others – I never every comment on such fora. I see now that I have made a mistake.

All I want… really, honestly, truly, all I want is for people – celebrities, civilians, strangers alike to only acknowledge that there is more to my country than the poverty. Just an acknowledgment of the fact that yes, this is a beautiful, ancient culture, we can learn together. That is all.

Instead I get pointless 1000 word essays about how I should be ashamed of myself. Yes, I am ashamed of myself and of most of the posters on this forum. Thanks for reinforcing my lack of faith in the power of simple dialog.

World Lover on

One, who cares if she is looking for celebrity status – the fact of the matter is that a child will be helped because of her help. So ultimately it doesn’t matter what the motive is as long as someone is being helped.

Two, if any of you have ever been to a third world country you would understand the DIRE need these people have for help. In the US we have many options, including clean drinking water, food stamps, homeless shelters, etc. Many countries do not even have fresh water, but have to walk miles just to dig a hole in the earth for some muddy water. So, comparing the US to a place like India is ridiculous and selfish. We are one world – all of the same needs. Why do you have to put borders around who you help? Completely absurd and so self centered.

Annika on

Nowhere in the article did she say that India is 100% poverty stricken, nor did she contest the history and beauty of the country. She simply stated she was traveling with unicef (whose mission it is to aid the poor) and taking her kids along to learn. She also never said there is no poverty in the US. Don’t imagine things that weren’t printed. I think it is great that she does good work, no matter where it is.

Vineetha Varughese on

To all you guys who think India is the only poor country in this world shame on you!! I was born & raised in India almost everyone that I know in & outside of my family are well eduacated succesful & very well off. There are some parts of the world that need help but maybe you Americans need to look at your situation first before trying to help out my wonderful country with educational visits & donations used cell phones & hair extensions. Because in the next few years we’ll be calling you third world & oh let’s go to this country for some education!!

E M on

@Neena are you kidding me! I am an Indian, and ABCD apologists like you are the reason why the stereotypes get perpetuated. Just because your parents grew up in poverty does not mean all the rest of us live that life. If you understood India, other than through Bollywood or from your parents stories about the 1960-197, you would be insulted by the poverty porn that is perpetuated by the uneducated west.

This is the same view the colonist took when they established the Raj (look that up, it is Indian history). How come Americans are not taking their children to Sicily to educated them against criminal organizations or to Saudi to teach about the importance of gender. equality.

Just because you have heard a few stories, read some books and seen a movie or two, does not make you sound any more aware or educated than Angie Herman. People who cannot see the whole picture will understand thus be of any use to a cause.

ashley on

This is so pathetic and strange. An American actress gushing about building her children’s characters using India as a poverty prop. Same goes to the likes of Angelina Jolie, and her wannabes.

Well, these ladies get these sponsored trips, come to India and stay at 7 star resorts and hotels lapping up the luxury. Then they go out to poverty stricken areas in air-conditioned super-cars and she may probably lecture her kids about …Oh look these kids have no food to eat.

Poverty is not for show Ms Harmon. It is a complex, historical, social and economical phenomenon. You could save on your Flight trip money, your luxurious stay in India and all the money that will spent in fussing over your daughters and you, and use that money to donate to individuals IN INDIA who work towards a better society selflessly.

emZee on

Remember that when an American goes abroad to “help the poor people”, this American is in a position of power in which he/she, the American,is the enlightened, Western “savior” and the the people in the country being “served” are inferior. This is the general pattern of colonialism. It is not okay.

This is the message that is implicit in Angie Harmon’s visit. If she wants to take her family to India to see what a beautiful, complex, country it is, one that is rich in tradition and also in complexities, then fine. But taking her kids to India to see poor people is ridiculous and colonialist. It would be the same thing if she trucked her kids into a poor neighborhood in America.

Treating poor people in this power structure is a complicated matter–so don’t be so quick to call her a great lady. This is why Americans are seen as ignorant–we need to “save” everyone.

PROUD TO BE A AMERICAN on

@Dawn IM WITH YOU A 100%, GOOD JOB VERY WELL SAID ;) It makes me mad to see someone out of that “country” to act like that BUT when they need help the good ole’ United States of America RUNS to these countries to spend our money on them, never really getting a lil thank you….WHO IS BEING THE SNOB NOW??? Such a ungrateful person you are. Good luck Angie Harmon on teaching your children while they are young and impressionable :)

Suchi on

Dear Angie Harmon,

Kudos to you for teaching your kids to appreciate what they have. However, India is not your personal poverty tour.

I hope that when you are there you also show/teach your kids the following:

1. India is the largest democracy in the world

2. India has the largest movie industry in the world

3. India is the only country to rapidly pull itself up from 3rd world status to 2nd world status in a matter of 15 years

4. India has the oldest school of social work and has a long history of social responsibility

5. India has produced some of worlds greatest activists (Ghandi), poets (Tagore), Musicians (Shankar), writers (too many….) and artists (go to an art gallery….I beg you!!)

6. India is home to some of the richest people in the world

Insist that your UNICEF reps take you to visit galleries, upper or middle class homes, ancient temples and beautiful country sides. There you will see that India that is beyond your poverty tour.

PROUD TO BE A AMERICAN on

THE PEOPLE WHO ONCE AGAIN ARE TALKING ABOUT “STARS” THROWING AROUND THEIR MONEY, WHAT THEY BUY, SPEND, ETC……LAST TIME I CHECKED THEY EARNED THAT MONEY, THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO DO WHAT THEYYYYYYYYYYYY WANT WITH IT. ITS NONE OF OUR BUSINESS, IM SURE IF SOMEONE TALKS ABOUT THE WAY YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY, YOU GET OFFENDED SO GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE. IM SURE ANGIE’S TRIP IS THE START TO HER LESSON ON TEACHING HER CHILDREN, AND WHEN THEIR OLD ENOUGH WE WILL PROBALY SEE HER HAVING THEM VOLUNTEER IN LOCAL SHELTERS & FOOD BANKS. KUDOS ANGIE FOR STARTING EARLY….

Tracie on

For those of you posting that poverty can be found here in the US, you are right. However, I doubt that those of you saying this have even been to India. There is no poverty in the US comparable to what you see in India.

The first time I went, I was in a state of complete shock…tiny young mothers with emaciated babies on their hips begging for food, being approached by children who have obviously not had a decent meal, possibly ever…the sheer number of people living on the street is unbelievable.

On top of that, the “lucky” ones with a place to live have plastic walls with a cardboard/corrugated sheet metal roof set up two feet from the side of the road. Those places go on for miles in Mumbai.

So although there are poor in the US, there are so many programs set up to help those people that you realize that you haven’t seen real poverty until you see a place like India.

Frida_K on

@steelcitytarana

Agreed. Poverty tourism is smug, condescending, and an offense to the objects of this self-serving lesson.

@Angie Harmon

There is certainly a lot of poverty, lack, and want in this country. You might try checking out Skid Row, or taking your kids to Appalachia or even the border areas of Texas. Trotting your wealthy, privileged children to India so that they can observe Authentic Native Specimens is vapid, self-indulgent, and smug.

You sound like a fool, Ms. Harmon, a wealthy, self-absorbed fool. If you cared about poverty, you would do more than treat poor people like animals in the zoo who exist for no other reason than to teach your children. Instead, you would look around your own country and quietly set about doing something respectful.

Shame on you. Just–shame on you.

Laura on

Many of you posting are assuming that Ms. Harmon (and her family) does not do anything for underpriveledged people in the U.S., and that she has chosen India instead. I’m willing to bet that she can, and will, do both. Most people who actually give of themselves in one situation, also do so in many situations. That is who they are. Unlike many people who would rather just criticize, than actually do something constructive. Kudos to anyone who gives of themselves, anywhere, anytime, for the benefit of anyone else!

AJA on

People – she’s going with a UNICEF-organized mission. Whatever he politics (and mine aren’t the same as hers) at least she’s working with a worldwide organization that helps children.

Kiera on

THIS IS A WHOLE LOTTA CRAP!! i live in India and we are not some down trodden poor country. in fact most of your doctors and engineers are from india! we have a wonderful education system, government and in general a good life! i will take my children to the US to show them what NOT TO BE COME!

lika on

Neena
thank you for your eloquent post. I have travelled to India on many occasions, and have seen the rich and the poor…and not much in between. The caste system still exists and is much more of a divide than between the richest and the poorest here in the US.

Again, we do not know what else Angie does in regard to charity, it really isn’t our business. My guess is that this was a posting to publicize UNICEF and not really her trip. I also tend to think that PEOPLE “requoted” her…as I find that it does a lot on this space.

What!! on

Woman you do not have to go to India to teach your children poverty go to Trenton New Jersey or other poor cities in USA places where people use food stamps a lot.

JulieA on

People would find fault with WHEREVER she decided to take her children to teach them about poverty. The fact is, she’s doing it, and that makes her a good mom and person in MY book!

acceptance on

I’m Indian living in the US and I disagree, steelcity. There are so many ways to see this.

1. She is a mom who wants to let her kids grow up aware of other cultures and places on the planet — they’re less likely to start wars some day.

2. She wants them to understand they are lucky and they can help (it’s not her fault that People mag wants to write about it).

3. She can choose to help in the US (which she may be doing…if People doesn’t tell us that, we don’t know ;-)) or elsewhere — as a citizen of this planet, it’s ok with me.

4. If the public can be made aware through celebrity activities it is not a bad thing. After all, the AIDS problem in India got a huge helping hand from Bill Gates.

5. And you know, as well as I do, that anything in India is exponentially bigger than anything in the US. When a bridge collapses in Minnesota, 5 people die, if a bridge collapses in India, hundreds will die simply because of the population, the lack of infrastructure to help, etc.

So let her do her bit. The kids seem a bit young, but it may be the start of many awareness trips for them. I’d rather read about this than what Tom Cruise’s kid is wearing these days.

Neena on

@steelcitytarana

If all you got from my post was that you should be ashamed of yourself then that post was indeed pointless.

Furthermore, you are, once again, absolutely correct; simple dialogue had indeed lost all power. You see, we cannot have “simple dialogue” considering that yours is the only opinion that is correct and I am simply giving petty criticism. I apologise profusely for my lack of knowledge and humbly accept defeat.

But, as I said, forgive the ignorant for they know not what they say.

I wish you the best of luck in your life. May you accomplish everything you set your heart to.

Liz on

Did none of you really read the story? She is going on behalf of UNICEF and taking her family with her. What is wrong with taking her kids and letting them see another part of the world? If she was going by herself, people would complain she wasn’t showing her kids the “real world.” Yes you can show them poverty here in the US but there are places in the world that are even worse than what we have here in the US and that is something worth bringing attention to.

mitz on

Who’s anyone on a public forum to decide where this family goes to help out impoverished people? While someone from India may feel “insulted” that their Country has more than poverty, truth is there’s poverty everywhere, and on a wide margin in Indian I might add. So if they chose India, then India it is.

With that said, I feel the need to admonish more Americans to take a look in their own backyards, because there are lots with needs in the USA. You would be surprised how many poor people are here, with no where to turn, so the need is here as well.

whatever on

Here is Lord MacCauley’s address to the British parliament – 2 February, 1835
“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than her own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

All the people here that are talking about how they traveled in India and saw the poverty are not getting the point. Indians’ blood boils because foreigners (maybe some of them are your ancestors) are the reason for so much poverty in that country. It was a highly advanced and wealthy country with amazing inventions in art, culture, science, math, theology etc before it was completely destroyed and left to be the way it is now. And the idiots that talk about caste system or corruption, the above excerpt is the reason why you see “caste system” the way it is now… do you know that the way it is made worse now and the rift it caused is the result of British sneaky way of keeping people under control. British always divided people and then conquered their country. Before British occupation, it was 700 years of Islamic invasions. How much can a country take and now it is being analyzed and evaluated by people like you all who are severely under-educated in this area.

cindy hopkins on

Let me guess, and she is going to stay in a 5-star hotel, and being served by underprivileged locals, while over there? Haha what a joke!!

Sharon on

Yep I agree right here in America we have homeless peoples,staving childrens but still we lucky to have food stamp,medicaid etc etc all pay by tax payer..But we can’t long can afford much of these social programs long

Anonymous on

World Lover- I think your comment is the best one here!

Jillian on

I wonder what people would say if this was a more “likable” person like Naomi Watts and her children were older. Just curious.

I am not a fan of hers any longer, but I think this a great opportunity and I can’t believe anyone can find fault in something so great. Such petty people some of you are…..I will wait for you to return from volunteering in in the US with your families to yell at me.

Mira on

I’m 1000% with steelcity on this one. “Charity” is by definition condescending and this article is the epitome of it. “Let’s feed the poors” safari is exactly how it sounded to me too.

steelcitytarana on

Steelcity – you make sense, though you must remember that it is possible (though not very likely) that not everything was expressed in this article, which was, essentially a puff piece for Angie. However – and this coming from someone who worked for years in the entertainment biz as a publicist’s gofer girl – I will say that these pieces tend to eb pretty strategically placed.

Also, it is very easy for a star/her publicist to add a sentence or two (nay, even a phrase) to respect the country that she is taking her children to. I would, if I were working for Ms. Harmon. That she (or her publicist) chose not to, says a lot.

Also, Neena – your overly apologetic and “nice-making” phraseology could be representative of a well-meaning person. I will give you that and if that is truly the case, then thank you for taking the time to write whatever you did, because it may be coming from a good place. (Not that my approval should mean much to you).

However, if you truly believe that you will Never-never-ever look into the motives of anyone who intends to do good, then you are a beggar with no self-esteem. I am not – I will not be grateful just because someone gives.

And before you start telling me I am entitled to be sitting at a computer and typing this out, and that there is a fly-ridden orphan clinging to life somewhere else, save it.

Sarah on

The truth of the matter is, Angie Harmon is helping or attempting to help people who are less fortunate than her. Even if she “stays in a 5 star hotel,” if nothing else, she’s bringing attention to poverty and UNICEF. I find it inspiring.

For what it’s worth, anyone who knows her at all knows she is always helping others in various ways, this trip is just one in a million things she does that People decided to do a story about.

Regardless, what are all of you doing? Sitting behind a computer bitching about someone’s life that you know nothing about? Way to help your country!

As for the steelcity’s comment that started this, I took your argument seriously until I saw the Palin comment. You lost all credibility. That has zero to do with this story.

I see so much talk about being anti-bullying and being respectful these days, but the worst bullies are the ones who hate someone simply because of their political beliefs…that goes for republicans and democrats and everyone in between.

jennrae on

I find her blatant disregard for the proper use of the word “literally” more offensive than a trip to India, although it is a little odd. Plane tickets for a family of five to go to India are sure to be expensive, plus whatever she pays for lodging. Why not volunteer somewhere locally and donate the trip money? Or at least go during the summer for the whole three months? And what exactly is the two-year-old gonna do?

Katie on

I have been a fan of Angie for a long time and admire her for many reasons, one of them being the fact that she cares so much about others. I you would read other interviews, or even read stuff that Angie actually said, you would see that her and her husband were planning a vacation to India before they decided to make it a learning experience for their three girls.

Angie does many charity events that benefit the US, what is so wrong about branching out to other countries as well? At least she has the heart to help others, which is more than anyone can say for most individuals in the spotlight, or even themselves. So before you bash Angie and her husband, get your facts straight. Angie is an amazing woman who cares deeply about others and is always more than willing to help when she can. Why else do you think she has such a large fan-base?

rebeccachristiansen on

You women are why we will never have a woman President. Simpletons. She is a UNICEF rep and they do work in India. Grow up.

L.J. on

My goodness, this post would have been ignored except for the fact that Ms. Harmon is a conservative and everyone wanted to rake her over the coals. Pathetic example of the “tolerance” of liberals. Tolerant only when others agree.

jcbf19 on

Mrs. Sehorn came into get a pedicure in a salon where I was having my nails done recently, and she was just the sweetest, most down to earth girl. I have the impression she is a normal and conscientious mom to those little girls.

As a person of some privilege and influence I think it is really admirable that she is thinking about a vacation with her family that can have cross-cultural, character building aspects for her children- rather than something completely self-indulgent.

emily on

True story… my very wealthy college roommate told me once that her family used to vacation at some ritzy resort every summer, but they were selling their vacation home because the price of the golf club membership had raised to $100k per year and her family didn’t feel it was worth it anymore as only her dad golfed. She was indignant about the price increase because “some families don’t even make $100k a year!”

My point… she had no clue what real poverty meant, or about reality in general. At 18 — voting age — her idea of “roughing it” was $100k a year. More people need to expose their kids to the wider world to see how other people really live. And if more people gave of themselves and reached out to the poor (without ulterior motives), whether here or abroad, there wouldn’t be as much poverty and suffering as there currently is.

I hardly think Angie Harmon is trying to reinforce colonialism or wants to look down her nose at people in need. In fact, she’s trying to use her wealth for good. She thinks she’s doing something good, and hopefully one good deed leads to another, and from one generation to the next. People are people, and we should all do more to help each other instead of tearing one another down. Even if she is traveling in ignorance this time, maybe this trip will give her a better indication of what she can really do to change the world next time.

AngieHarmonFan on

Most Americans live in an American bubble.

For the rest of the world, world cups actually involve other countries. The world series in America is, what?

Kudos to Angie for exposing her kids to the world outside of America.

Elf on

Does anyone know if she even went? The only photo she posted while she was away on “vacation” was a photo of all her friends sunning themselves on a beach.

I realize that her intentions are there in terms of showing her children that poverty is not only a problem here in the States, BUT they are young and taking them somewhere local is better. She needs to take them outside of the gated community once in a while and let them know that not everyone has brand name jeans, iPads, nannies and all the needless bling. Here’s hoping they don’t grow up to be bratty and entitled losers like the Kardashians, Paris Hilton and Will Smith’s kids. Yuck.

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