Miss World 2000 – Priyanka Chopra and Miss World 2014 – Rolene Strauss have been working closely with UNICEF.
Appointed UNICEF’s global Goodwill Ambassador in December 2016 and a UNICEF India Ambassador for 10 years, Priyanka Chopra went on an African trip to support the #ENDViolence project, starting in Harare, Zimbabwe.
She met child survivors of sexual violence and heard their harrowing stories.
“When I met these survivors, young brave women and children, and listened to their experiences, it just broke my heart,” said Priyanka. “I will never forget their stories.”
“As a society, it is on us to provide and take care of our children as citizens of the world, to educate children at a young age that it’s not OK to be inappropriately touched and that under-age sex can lead to unwanted teen pregnancy or HIV,” added Priyanka.
On the second day of her visit, Priyanka visited Childline Zimbabwe, the country’s 24-hour service for children who have been abused, violated or exploited. As well as providing free, confidential, multilingual counselling to children aged 18 years and under, Childline also offers 25 community based drop in centers throughout the country.
Her first stop was a Childline drop-in center in Epworth, where she met survivors of sexual violence who shared their stories. Priyanka then visited the Childline call-in center to meet the Helpline counsellors and listen to some of the calls being fielded in real-time.
“I was astonished by the number of calls that were coming in during the brief time I was there,” said Priyanka. “The counsellors, all volunteers, told me that many calls come from children in hysterics because they had been raped or abused. They were so scared. Without Childline, they would have nowhere to turn. This is a model that many countries with high rates of violence against children can adopt, because it is a safe place for children to turn to and know that their call will be answered by a compassionate person who will take their complaints seriously and respond.”
In 2016, 3,690 reports of sexual abuse were received by Childline. The children were assisted to receive counselling, medical assistance, and justice through prosecution of the offenders.
Priyanka then went to Johannesburg to attend the UNICEF fundraiser event.