International Supermodel and UNICEF Supporter Meets with Rohingya Refugee Children and Families
International supermodel and UNICEF Supporter Gigi Hadid traveled with UNICEF USA to Bangladesh last week, promoting the rights and well-being of every child. During her visit, Hadid saw first-hand the impact of UNICEF programming, including education, child-friendly spaces, health support and more. The trip fell on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Rohingya refugee crisis, which began on August 25, 2017.
There are 1.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the region since the mass influx of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh from Myanmar last year, and more than half are children. On a visit to the Sabrang river border area, Hadid saw the route that so many children and families took in hopes of a safer life.
At a Learning Center in Shamlapur Camp, Hadid met students and joined in educational games and activities. At an Information Feedback Center, she met with inspirational young people, mothers and community mobilizers who are engaging their communities in response efforts.
At a Women-Friendly Space in Jamtoli Camp, Hadid met women who are leading their households with support from UNICEF and partners. In the Kutupalong camp, Hadid saw the lifesaving impact of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food Packets for malnourished children at an Outpatient Therapeutic Feeding Center and saw the power of play at a Child-Friendly Space, where kids receive support and recover from trauma.
"Visiting the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh with Gigi Hadid ahead of the one-year mark of the crisis was a hugely impactful experience. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose to make sure that these bright, dynamic children have everything they need to grow and thrive," said Caryl M. Stern President and CEO of UNICEF USA. "We are so thankful that Gigi gave her time, voice and platforms to this mission. She is a living example of what it means to put 'children first' and was a natural in the environment – warm and engaging with everyone she met. We are thrilled to have her as a UNICEF USA Supporter."
Upon her return, Hadid and UNICEF Ambassador Halima Aden started a CrowdRise page to support UNICEF's work to protect children on the move around the world and celebrate their September cover of CR Fashion Book. Both Hadid and Aden are represented by IMG Models, whose parent company Endeavor helped introduce them to UNICEF USA.
"We were so proud to connect Gigi with Endeavor's social impact partner, UNICEF, and watch her mobilize immediately through her first field visit to Bangladesh. Gigi was able to witness firsthand the incredible work UNICEF is doing with the Rohingya refugees in helping them not only survive, but thrive. The impassioned support from Gigi, Halima and their teams at IMG Models will continue to raise awareness for and have a direct impact on the communities UNICEF serves around the world," stated Tascha Rudder, Executive Director of the Endeavor Foundation.