After enthralling fans with her fashion game at the Cannes Film Festival 2019, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas is currently in Ethiopia spending time with refugee children.

Priyanka took to social media to share a series of photographs and videos of herself with the children from her philanthropic tour as Unicef’s Goodwill Ambassador in Addis Ababa. She also met Sahle-Work Zewde, the first female president of the country.

The “Quantico” actress is seen interacting, dancing and playing with the children in the videos. She also highlighted the issues of poverty, sexual violence and child marriage through her posts.

Priyanka Chopra Bonds With Refugee Children In Ethiopia
Priyanka Chopra Bonds With Refugee Children In Ethiopia

Sharing the story of a 15-year-old girl, Priyanka spoke about the importance of education for girls.

She wrote: “This is Hasina (15), she is a 7th-grade student who loves to go to school. She used to live with her sister and her husband, and without her knowing, her sisters’ husband was arranging her marriage to one of his friends… she was 12 at the time.

“One day when the man visited her house to pester her parents to marry her, she escaped to a friend’s house and the next day went to one of the community-based child’s marriage prevention platforms (alone), which she had heard about at school. She asked herself, ‘If she married now, would she ever go back to school again?’ Hasina loves learning and wasn’t willing to trade her education or freedom for anything.

 

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This is Hasina (15), she is a 7th grade student who loves to go to school. She used to live with her sister and her husband, and without her knowing, her sisters’ husband was arranging her marriage to one of his friends…she was 12 at the time. One day when the man visited her house to pester her parents to marry her, she escaped to a friends house and the next day went to one of the community-based child’s marriage prevention platforms (alone), which she had heard about at school. She asked herself, if She married now, would she ever go back to school again? Hasina loves learning and wasn’t willing to trade her education or freedom for anything.That gave her the courage to stand up for herself. The community, along with the authorities, stepped in and stopped the marriage. The man was charged. It’s important to understand that it takes an immense amount of courage to go against these cultural “norms” that have existed for centuries. Hasina is a very brave girl. It was so heartening to see the elders in the community learning from the examples these young girls are setting, standing up against child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting. Education gave these girls that perspective. This community is an example of how change is possible. FEMALE RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. To make a difference and learn more about @Unicef’s efforts, visit UNICEF. Link in bio.

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Abda Abdulaziz, 26, arrived at the Bambasi camp in 2011 seeking refuge from the war in Sudan. Her 5 children were born in this camp and are being raised here, while her husband works as a laborer at a nearby farm – they see each other every two weeks for a few days. She said that if the violence in her country settles, she and her husband may consider going back, but she is not very hopeful that will happen. In the meantime, life in the camp allows her children to have access to an education. I met two of her daughters, Zulfa Ata Ey, 8, and Muzalefa, 10, at the primary school I had visited earlier in the day. Zulfa is at the top of her class and her mom is so proud. While they’re safe and her children are receiving an education, they are still living below the poverty line, and she’s desperate for the most basic supplies…like water, books, and clothes for her children. To donate and learn more about @Unicef’s efforts, visit UNICEF. Link in bio. (PS, the last video…Zulfa playing with my phone.)

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At the Bambasi Refugee Camp Primary School there is a shortage of trained teachers, with one teacher for every 89 students. This second grade class is taught by Hubahiro, she is a refugee child who is an 8th grade student at the school…she teaches grades 1-4 in the morning, and in the afternoon attends school to continue her education. Like her mother, who is also a refugee and teacher at the school, she earns a small stipend. When I first met the kids they were extremely introverted and timid. It took a lot of tickles and cuddles to get them to interact with me. Thank you Hubahiro for translating and helping the kids understand that I was a friend. @unicef @unicefethiopia #childrenuprooted

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“That gave her the courage to stand up for herself. The community, along with the authorities, stepped in and stopped the marriage. The man was charged. It’s important to understand that it takes an immense amount of courage to go against these cultural norms that have existed for centuries. Hasina is a very brave girl. It was so heartening to see the elders in the community learning from the examples these young girls are setting, standing up against child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting. Education gave these girls that perspective.”

Priyanka tried the traditional Ethiopian dance and said that she has “bonded” with the country over the joy she shared through dancing.

Praising Zewde, Priyanka said: “Her fierce commitment to the empowerment and advancement of women is unprecedented. She also has a global perspective for the development of her country – Ethiopia is the second largest host country of refugees in Africa, they’ve taken in just under 1 million.

“She is pushing for policies that provide people with access to education and other essential needs so they can improve their familial economic situation and hence the economy of Ethiopia.” Last year, Priyanka visited Bangladesh to meet Rohingya children.

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