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South Africa, 10 May 2017: Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra hosts inaugural UNICEF fundraising gala

© UNICEF South Africa/2017/Hearfield
UNICEF South Africa’s Representative, Mr. Herve Ludovic De Lys with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Priyanka Chopra at the inaugural UNICEF South Africa Fundraising Gala.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 10 May 2017 – Attended by over 150 representatives of the corporate sector, Government, civil society, media and the diplomatic corps, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Priyanka Chopra reminded her audience, at the inaugural UNICEF South Africa Fundraising Gala, that “compassion is the only way to take the world forward.”

On her first field visit as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since assuming the title in December 2016, the acclaimed actress, producer and philanthropist shared her experiences of her recent visit to Zimbabwe where she met with young girls who had been the victims of sexual violence. Admitting that what she had witnessed on her trip did leave her emotional, Chopra noted that she is “strengthened” by UNICEF’s dedication to the protection of vulnerable children.

Held under the global UNICEF theme, ‘End Violence’, the Gala included a live auction of donated high-end items which raised funds for the Isibinidi Safe Parks programme. An initiative of the National Association of Child and Care Workers, UNICEF and the Department of Social Development, Safe Parks provide a sanctuary for children in under-privileged areas in various parts of South Africa.

In his address, UNICEF South Africa’s Representative, Mr. Herve Ludovic De Lys, thanked the sponsors of the event as well as those present for their commitment to making a difference to the lives of children. “Individually and collectively, you have been true guardian angels,” de Lys said.

Moderated by UNICEF South Africa Ambassador Jo-Ann Strauss, the Gala included musical performances by Celebrity Advocates Tshedi Mholo and Zakes Bantwini as well as a fashion show by National Ambassador Gavin Rajah.

The poignant testimony by Thembi*, a young woman who was herself raped as a teenager, brought home the message that violence against young people is a reality. Paying tribute to Thembi*, Chopra reminded the audience that “we can be the solution” through supporting the work of UNICEF because “lives are changed by what we do.”

*Names have been changed to protect identities.



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