The dust had just barely settled at Windsor Castle after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s historic royal wedding, but already the bride’s best friend Priyanka Chopra was off to do some very important work. A day after the spectacular May 19 nuptials, the star travelled to Bangladesh on a four-day trip with UNICEF to bring awareness to the struggles of women and children in refugee camps.
Priyanka, 35, first became aware of the Rohingya crisis last year through a series of images that broke her heart, she said in a UNICEF video set against the backdrop of one of the camps she visited. The crisis saw a mass migration of people across the Myanmar border into Bangladesh, where over 700,000 have been living in refugee camps or informal settlements since 2015. “After seeing the distressing images of the Rohingya crisis unfolding last year, being here and meeting the children and families affected has helped me better understand the enormity of the crisis,” she said.
Over half of these refugees are children, with an average of six babies born per day in the camps. “The kids I met were smiling but I could still see a sadness in their eyes that reflected the carnage and horror they witnessed,” the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador shared emotionally. “Yet at the same time, meeting children at a learning centre, I saw real hope. I saw children happy, learning and playing.”
The Quantico actress also traveled to the border of Myanmar, where she stopped by a nutrition centre treating children for malnourishment and teaching mothers new breastfeeding practices. “No matter where a child is from or what his or her circumstances are, every child is the future of this world, and it is up to us, as global citizens, to make sure they have a future,” she said.
The charitable organization, along with its partners, have been screening children for malnutrition and helping to improve their living conditions in the camps and settlements by providing education and learning materials, so the children don’t fall behind. However, a UNICEF representative in the country, Edouard Beigbeder , said in a statement that more awareness is needed to make a lasting impact. “The international community must redouble its efforts to support the Government of Bangladesh to protect and invest in the future of Rohingya children, particularly in their education.”