Gigi Hadid traveled to Dakar, Senegal, earlier today to visit a UNICEF-supported shelter. As one of the highest-paid supermodels today, Gigi took advantage of her platform, seeking to spread awareness about the lives of abused girls, women, and their children.
She shared that after being sexually exploited, most of the females at the shelter had been kicked out of their homes, their families turning their backs on them.
The supermodel, who has a following of more than 50.9 million, posted pieces of Instagram content showing her visiting a support shelter for female victims of abuse.
The first video showed Gigi, wearing a black UNICEF t-shirt, playing with the little kids at the shelter, all while carrying a baby. In the background, other kids were seen singing and dancing alongside some adults.
In the next picture, a group of women were seen huddled together in a circle, joined by the shelter founder, Mona Chasserio. The third photo showed two charming little girls playing with toys. Up next was a video of a boy singing and dancing happily, with some UNICEF volunteers interacting with the other kids also being detailed.
A following photo showed Gigi sitting down on the floor with a little boy and girl, going over their toys. This was followed by a heartwarming video of the supermodel rocking a baby to sleep.
The next video in the sequence showed what life is like at the Dakar shelter. Despite their circumstances, the women present at the shelter seemed thankful, showing smiles to the camera.
The last three photos depicted little babies in warm clothes, as well as various places inside the shelter.
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Today we visited a @UNICEF supported shelter, for women and girl victims of abuse, in Dakar. After being raped and/or impregnated from a sexual attack, it is common that these girls are shunned from their families and kicked out of their homes. Some women travel from very rural parts of the country, some even coming from other countries (one girl we met today is from Libya). After traveling sometimes to many cities trying to find their ground, most girls learn about this home through word-of-mouth; no one will be turned down and they will be supported physically, emotionally, and psychologically here. Employees and volunteers of the shelter, lead by the founder Mona Chasserio and her colleague Danielle Hueges, shown in the photos, encourage the girls to share and find community through their hardship. They are taught to find the positive in their motherhood and relationship with their child, to love and care for them properly, and to nurture their passions, whether it be garment making, agriculture, sports, etc. and learn a skill set that will help them be able to enter the workplace upon their departure from the shelter. Not only have about 250 children been born in this shelter in the last 10 years (15 births have taken place between October and November of this year, and the youngest mother being only ten years old), but there are also orphans who are brought to this shelter by Senegal’s Ministry of Justice. Mothers and their children will stay at the shelter until it is agreed upon by themselves and the leaders that they have the confidence, strength, and skills they need to re-enter their communities, and orphans will stay til about 8 years old, when they are permitted by the government to enter a nursing home to be adopted. Their greatest tool is one called “Rapid Protection,” which is a 24/7 SMS system put in place by UNICEF that enables community members trained in child protection and this specific system (1,222 at this time to cover the 1.5 million people in this region) to be informants of abuse (physical, sexual, neglect, etc.) in their area. As soon as these cases have been reported through SMS, with the age and sex of the victim… (cont ↓)
Gigi also shared several clips to Instagram stories over the course of her trip, capturing bits and pieces of Senegal’s capital — and of the shelter — in the process.
The post has garnered many positive reactions from relatives, friends, and fans of the supermodel.
“Makes me cry!! This is amazing! Thank you for creating awareness for this and trying to help in the best ways you can, your light and love shines from within,” Gigi’s cousin, Joanna Van Den Herik, commented.
“We love a generous and kind queen,” singer Kacey Musgraves stated.
“What a wonderful wonderful home. What a sick world this can be… thank god for shelters like these, thank you for sharing @gigihadid,” Danish supermodel and photographer Helena Christensen remarked, making her sentiments plain.
Gigi has teamed up with UNICEF in the past. As reported by Variety, the model traveled to Bangladesh in August of 2018 to meet with female refugees. After deciding that she wanted to partner with UNICEF, the supermodel met with Caryl Stern, the president and CEO of UNICEF USA.
“I never had a specific area or crisis in mind,” Hadid said. “I wanted UNICEF to send me wherever they needed.”
Stern was impressed with the supermodel’s willingness to use her celebrity power to shine a spotlight on those in need.
“I think she truly has a desire to do something about making our world better. She came in talking about the fact that every child should have a childhood. She had done her homework and was attracted to UNICEF because of our impeccable record.”