22 May 2019
Addis Ababa: 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 philanthrophic 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.
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.
"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.