Editor's note: Voting is under way for the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year. The winner will be announced at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which airs live December 11. See the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011 and cast your vote at CNNHeroes.com.
(CNN) -- Actress Kristin Davis is an ambassador for Oxfam, an international alliance of 15 organizations striving to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. The group works directly with communities in 98 countries.
As part of her efforts, Davis advocates for vulnerable women around the world. She recently spoke with CNN's Sonya Hamasaki about the need to help people improve their lives. Below are excerpts from that interview.
CNN: What inspired you to get involved with Oxfam?
Kristin Davis: Oxfam is unique in helping people become independent. That's their goal.
One of the reasons I got involved was that after the tsunami, I remember all of the fishermen whose entire lives had gotten washed away in Indonesia. I thought, "How are they ever going to get their livelihoods back?" Oxfam was committed to staying there until those fishermen got their own livelihoods back together so that they could be self-sufficient..
CNN: You are specifically interested in helping women receive job training and education. Why is that important to you?
Davis: A lot of times, these women have been left alone or their husbands have died of AIDS or different things. I was interested in helping women who may live in a world where they weren't trained to do anything and they weren't afforded an education. Oxfam will go into these communities and try to help out.
It might be raising chickens, it might be sewing beaded necklaces; they're helping the women empower themselves. And, especially for women, that's a huge, huge life-changing thing to be able to be self-sufficient. The women can then support their children, and usually the women send their children to school and it changes the next generation.
CNN: What is your role as an ambassador?
Davis: The way I perceive my role as an ambassador -- which I think is personal for everyone -- is that I travel to places that I'm interested in, where there's a story or a particular situation with women usually, and I just talk to people and I'm a witness to their story. I come back and try to tell their stories.
Just going is such an inspiration for me that I would do it (if) no one asked me at all. But it's wonderful for me to be able to talk about it to other people, because I think sometimes we're not aware of how other people are living.
CNN: What is a hero to you?
Davis: I think right now our world is somewhat chaotic. There's a lot to be upset about and a lot to complain about, and the heroes are the people who are getting up and doing something about it. That's what I love about the CNN Heroes program: that it's people all over the world who may just be on their own trying to fix something. And I think that's great.
It's great to be able to support people who are involved in maybe a small-scale way, trying to make the world better. I think there are so many people trying so hard to change things, and the news just doesn't get to cover them all. So it's nice that CNN Heroes does cover it.