September 20th 2017 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra shares her experience visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan earlier on this year – calling for more action to help children affected by conflict. Priyanka was speaking at ‘No Lost Generation’, a United Nations General Assembly event at UNICEF, in partnership with Save the Children
I’m an actor by profession. I consider myself a humanitarian by nature, as I think all of us are. I’ve worked with UNICEF now for 12 years as National Ambassador for India for about 11. And a year for as a global ambassador, when you hear these kids asking these questions, and we sit in our incredibly, incredibly privileged world as we do, because we have washing machines, and we have this car shows, and we have cars, and we have great clothes, and you know, we wake up with planes, not targeting our homes.
Sitting in that environment, I don’t think most of us don’t understand the gravity of what kids like masoom and Hannah, and I am have been through, I had the privilege of going to Jordan, which is been a host country of about 1.5 million refugees in a camp called Satori. And which masoom is from as well. That’s where she went to school to. And I think the one thing that I would like to respond to these kids is, first, thank you to all the host countries who feel the responsibility as a privileged society and as a privileged world, to be able to take on these children.
When we talk about not having a lost generation, these are not just words, this is literally a generation of children whose choice who did not have a choice in this matter. War was not their choice being displaced, with not their choice. None of it was their choice. But the fact that we can give them a choice is on us, as the privileged Society of the world. The fact that we can sit in our homes and just funds, compassion, time, belief, faith, and letting those kids feel that you can, at some point become a dentist, or you can at some point, become a singer.
When I went to Atari, and I met all of these kids, like masoom, was saying, each and every one of them, they wanted nothing else they did not ask for because maybe they knew I couldn’t do anything about a war should end or I want a better home or I all they kept saying to me was we just want our education, to not be taken away from us so that we can go back to Syria, and rebuild the country that was broken. And that is such a big statement coming from teenagers who are not supposed to think like that. These are children who are supposed to be playing games and studying and getting an education and thinking about the possibility of their future. And these children are sitting there saying, I want to rebuild my country.
That is incredible, and so provocative to me, as an ambassador to go and tell all of you who are messengers for these children, and so many of you who have done so much so many host countries, so many governments, so many representatives that we have sitting here, who have done so much, but it is still not enough. And yes, the numbers are overwhelming. But we are so many more people in the world, that can actually just lend a helping hand holding hand, helping hand to these kids who have so much hope and so much faith. It takes and maybe I’m an extra emotional sensitive person, because I’m an actor.
But it takes I don’t know how Muslim sits here with a smile on her face after she lived there. All it took for me was one visit to break my heart. for me to have conversations with these kids and ask them, What do you want to do. I have one six year old telling me I want to become a doctor, and eight year old telling me I want to be an engineer or I want to be an actress. And I know the reality. I know that I don’t know if these children will have access to higher education, will they be able to go to colleges? Will they be able to find their feet again? And those are questions we need to answer sitting in this room. Those are the questions we need to answer for them as their voices.
So my experiences throughout meeting all of these incredible kids, whether it was in Zimbabwe, South Africa, India, Jordan has only been consistent each and every one of them whether they’re dealing with poverty, whether they’re dealing with war, whether they’re dealing with the refugee crisis. All of them just want to be able to have a handle on their future. And we can give them that.
So please, I implore each and every one of you to implore the people that you work with to ask to do Just moves bear spirits and say that is on us as privileged society to remember those children that may be forgotten,
who. And I’m going to say this with the fear of the fact that I don’t know if I can, but these are children that can actually get into the hands of people whose hands they shouldn’t be in, have extremist thoughts of ideas.
And these are the same kids who, by the way, have to deal with the stigma of being refugees, of the fact that they have been displaced from the countries that they come from. So all of those things are something that we as a society need to talk about, educate about, create awareness about. But we need to remember that this last generation belongs to this one world, and we are part of that one world and it’s on us to be able to take care of that one world that we have. Thank you very much.