Priyanka Chopra Jonas has spent some time in Northern India speaking with young girls who’ve overcome gender discrimination and violence – and she’s urging leaders to invest in their safety and education.
The global star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador travelled to Uttar Pradesh for a two-day visit with the humanitarian organisation. She says she felt inspired by the girls’ resilience:
“They’ve overcome trauma and violence in their families, faced mental health challenges and tackled child labour. The programs I visited, supported by UNICEF and run by the Government, empower and nurture girls.”
Priyanka is now using her social media platform to highlight how investing in girls can completely change their lives – as she says, when they are “strong, healthy and educated, they can change their communities and transform societies.”
UNICEF India Representative Cynthia McCaffrey agrees: “Girls can make a bigger difference in their lives, in their families and in society when they are empowered through education, equal opportunities and life skills. Investing in adolescent girls and boys can be transformative.”
During her visit, Priyanka met students at a state-run, UNICEF-supported initiative which provides kids with academic learning programs as well as job skills.
“One of the groups of teenagers I met didn’t get the opportunity to start their education when one is supposed to, only because they were girls. But their perseverance paid off and at the age of 12 and 14 they’re now learning how to read and write,” Priyanka writes on Instagram, sharing a video montage of her visit.
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“The situations they have dealt with in their young lives are so impossible to digest, but they picked themselves up and fought to remove themselves from the cycle of poverty and abuse that they are in.”
Priyanka also stopped by a health centre in Lucknow caring for newborns and their mothers as well as a rural childcare centre.
(Feature Image Credit: UNICEF/UN0731306/Mukherjee)