Think about it: Most of us aspire to make a difference, so how come we often find ourselves in the backseat and letting others take the lead? It's easy to assume that our contributions have little to no bearing in the world, but all we have to do is do our part.
To give you a dose of inspiration, we rounded up seven women who were recently recognized by Downy during the brand's #NeverFade event for their unwavering dedication to positive change. Read on:
Advocacy: Sexual and reproductive health
We all love Pia for winning us our third Miss Universe crown, but beyond the stage, Pia is truly a pillar of the reproductive health advocacy.
“For me, the title was a dream come true, but the work continues,” Pia points out. She continues to touch lives by helping raise awareness on HIV/AIDS and was appointed UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific.
“Supporting the cause wasn’t really a thing before, especially for a beauty queen. It wasn’t really the top-picked advocacy,” Pia says. But she’s glad that more people are volunteering and getting themselves tested. For her, making a difference isn’t just about grandiose acts and being famous. “You don’t have to be a beauty queen or a popular actress to influence others. You don’t need a huge number of followers to make a change. All we need is your time.”
Advocacy: Equal social and economic development
Aside from a number of acting awards under her belt, Jasmine is also a proud social volunteer. “My advocacy has to do with education for the children. It’s actually a holistic program that’s run by World Vision. I started volunteering in 2008 when I was still a student and now I’m working with them as a National Youth Ambassador.”
Jasmine also supports the movement for sustainable tourism and independent energy. The real trick, Jasmine says, is finding something that can change the world that actually feels doable to you. “Pay attention to what your heart tells you. Sometimes it’s hard to hear with all the noise around and with everyone doing their own thing and posting it on social media. Take the time to know what your skills are and then find the right organization in line with your perspectives.”
Advocacy: Women empowerment
It’s hard to imagine how one of the most beautiful actresses in the industry can still be subject to criticism and online bullying, but this is exactly what Iza had to overcome to be a champion of body positivity and women empowerment. Her advocacy, The Body Love Revolution, is very personal.
“It was tough. My journey as a young girl who became obese, who then lost weight, who still struggled with weight issues then, especially as an actress, was not easy.”
Recognizing she was not alone and cultivating self-love made all the difference to her; she now wants to help more women feel that way. “I want to use my platform to create change and empower women. First to make them feel that they’re not alone and second, that they’re worthy,” Iza shares. “Find your own voice that is uniquely you and shine in a way that you’re meant to shine.”
Advocacy: Maternal health
Few women prioritize their maternal health, and even less understand what it actually means. “Being a parent is eye-opening,” Bianca said. “Being a mom turns your world upside-down. It is the toughest job in the world.” Since giving birth, Bianca has been sharing her own journey through motherhood with hopes of promoting maternal health awareness.
As a mom to two girls, Bianca admits that things could get a bit crazy at times, but she still encourages moms to keep sharing their own stories. “Not just the beautiful and picturesque moments but also the ugly, the sweaty, the challenging times. The more real we are with our ups and downs, especially in this age of social media, the more we can learn from each other, and the more we can become better parents to our children. That’s really what will make us never fade in our children’s eyes."
Advocacy: Gender equality
Being a mother often leaves little time to do much else, but when it comes to leaving a positive impact in spite of a busy schedule, we can learn a thing or two from Kristine. Not only is she a mother of two, Kristine is also a lawyer and the new Executive Director of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW). In pursuit of gender equality, her goal is to strengthen the country's Gender and Development programs and policies by helping empower women in terms of livelihood, employment, health, and safety among others.
“My advocacy, in line with that of PCW, is to advance women’s rights and ensure the availability of equal opportunities for all women. Because only through women’s empowerment and gender equality can we achieve genuine progress that will never fade,” said Kristine.
Because of her job as a broadcast journalist, Kara would always get assigned to remote places in the Philippines and meet child workers and indigenous people who do not have access to education. While her job is to report the news and educate people, Kara felt that she needed to do more, so she started Project Malasakit in 2001.
The organization helps indigenous groups by providing scholarships, building classrooms and daycare centers, offering sustainable sources of energy, and putting up health centers and maternal clinics.
“When you go to a community, you realize that the problems are all interconnected with each other,” Kara says. “Follow your passion and never give up. We can only do it if we have compassion for other people and if we open our hearts.”
Joy was only 27 when she found out that she has cancer, but instead of feeling sorry for herself, she decided to find meaning and blessings in her journey instead. She’s currently supporting two organizations: the world’s leading cleft charity, Smile Train Foundation, where she’s a charity athlete who runs for a cause; and the People Ignite Foundation, where she helps provide a holistic approach to learning.
Joy shares that her advocacies are only possible because of three things: purpose, passion, and action. “With action—one day at a time, one step at a time, one kid at a time—we will get there together.”
Their commitment to making a difference proves that we can all do our part in delivering long-lasting positive change. By recognizing Pia, Jasmine, Iza, Bianca, Kristine, Kara, and Joy for their achievements, Downy hopes to inspire women everywhere to pursue their personal causes and leave an impact that never fades.
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