SEATTLE — One year after the Rohingya refugee crisis began forcing many young children and adults to flee Myanmar, supermodel Gigi Hadid traveled to Bangladesh to serve as an activist and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supporter. Currently, there are 1.3 million people in the area who need humanitarian aid, with half or more being children. Through this partnership, Hadid and UNICEF have been a voice for these young children and families in crisis and have supported millions of young refugees.
UNICEF’s Work With Refugees
As strong believers in the rights of children everywhere, UNICEF has played an important role in alleviating the refugee crisis and supports many children who have had to flee their homes due to war, poverty or persecution. This organization supports six actions and policies to protect child refugees:
- Call for solutions to the causes that force children to become refugees, such as poverty and conflict.
- Make sure these children are educated and healthy with access to schools, hospitals, food and shelter.
- Ensure children stay with their families and have legal identities.
- Stop detaining children and instead look for different solutions.
- End discrimination, xenophobia and the stigma surrounding refugees and be a more welcoming global community.
- Provide protection from violence and exploitation, such as forced labor and sexual slavery.
UNICEF works to support these goals around the world in different ways. One way is by providing humanitarian aid to refugee camps in great need. UNICEF works with local and national governments to provide legal protection and government services for these children. It also analyzes and reports data on the status of refugees.
The organization also operate spaces within camps that are child-friendly. This way, kids can play, run around and spend time or reunite with their families. When Hadid visited the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, she shared many photos and stories from these spaces and appeared touched by her many new friends.
Gigi Hadid and UNICEF Raise Awareness and Funds for Refugees
Hadid saw many different aspects of life as a refugee during her trip to Bangladesh. Her trip also highlighted the important programs that UNICEF has started in this area.
She visited the border area near the Sabrang River to see the path many refugees journeyed on. She shared photos from a Learning Center in Shamalpur Camp and discussed the services provided to children. At this center, children are taught Burmese, English, math and life skills, and are given psychosocial support to help with their emotional needs. Hadid also visited an Information Feedback Center, where activists and mobilizers build communities to respond to these crises. Other stops included a woman-friendly space, a soccer game at a child-friendly space and a visit to a therapeutic feeding center.
After sharing a week’s worth of thoughtful social media posts about her trip, Hadid, along with UNICEF Ambassador and model Halima Aden, began a CrowdRise page to fundraise for UNICEF. Furthering their impact even more, both models were featured on the cover of September’s CR Fashion Book.
This trip and the way Hadid used her voice to show what life is like for refugees and raise awareness for a cause is a great example of a celebrity using their fame for good. The partnership between Hadid and UNICEF has allowed many to learn more about the Rohingya refugees and will surely have more to share in the future.
– Alexandra Eppenauer