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Trailblazers Actress Lisa Surihani On Becoming A Unicef Goodwill Ambassador

Actress Lisa Surihani On Becoming A Unicef Goodwill Ambassador

Actress Lisa Surihani On Becoming A Unicef Goodwill Ambassador
By Kathlyn D'Souza
October 16, 2017
You know her as one of the bubbliest, most recognisable faces in the Malaysian TV and film scene, but still waters run deep with Gen.T lister and actress Lisa Surihani, who was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef Malaysia earlier this year. We caught up with her for a chat about her collaborative efforts with the programme, as well as her personal life.

Also read: 6 Tips On Travelling Like A Pro, As Told By BorderPass Founder Faisal Arif


You were announced as Unicef Malaysia’s Goodwill Ambassador earlier this year.

"Yes, that’s right. I was, and I am very very thankful. I received the offer via email through my talent management, Astro. It’s one of those things that I had a brief, passing thought about in high school. Marginalised, victims of a particular kind of social standing of any kind, where they’re from, anything in relation to children was something I’ve always been passionate about.

"Maybe I was not learned enough on how to go about it. Maybe I had to learn a lot more before getting into it. So I kind of went through life going with the flow after that.

"When Unicef gave me this offer, I said to them, ‘I don’t have it all figured out. I don’t know what we’re going to do together'. For me, it was a golden opportunity to learn from them – I want to help; teach me and guide me on how to go about it. It’s one of those things I believe that has to really come from within you. When being committed to a particular cause, it cannot be something in passing, you have to truly believe in it for it to last. You have to keep going for as long as you can."


"It’s one of those things I believe that has to really come from within you. When being committed to a particular cause, it cannot be something in passing, you have to truly believe in it for it to last"


 

Lisa Surihani posed for Malaysia Tatler in her Unicef T-shirt shortly after being announced as the Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef Malaysia earlier this year. She has since then given birth to her second child, a baby boy named Yusof Leonne Yusry.
Lisa Surihani posed for Malaysia Tatler in her Unicef T-shirt shortly after being announced as the Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef Malaysia earlier this year. She has since then given birth to her second child, a baby boy named Yusof Leonne Yusry.

Aspirations where Unicef is concerned.

"It hit me hard that there was a lot that I did not know. Like a typical term such as sexual grooming, for example, it was something that I had no idea about. That was an interesting learning journey for me, and there is a lot more happening out there that I’m not exposed to. So that gave me perspective, but I couldn’t just sit down and let it be in passing or an awareness post online, and relax about it. I wanted to do something about it.

"We often hear the term ‘charity begins at home’. Similarly as to when you want to increase awareness of a certain issue, it has to begin from you believing in the cause in the first place and doing something about it, although it may seem like it is on a small scale but believing it can go a long way. We have to remind ourselves that the journey doesn’t begin there.

"Where Unicef is concerned, I got to learn ways to convey to those out there, in the right disposition, for us to eliminate any forms of sexual violence – or any form of violence or abuse – towards children. How do we together figure the ways of safer internet usage – be it for boys and girls. How do we look into proper protection for them to live in safe environment whether online or offline. The other interesting thing will also be inclusiveness – for the disabled children – we understand and acknowledge differences, but we are as equally able or perhaps they are more able than we are, but it is about whether or not we allow for them to be so. So it’s about changing the stigma, and changing the mindset of what their capabilities are, of what they can truly achieve.

"Very soon I’ll be sharing with you certain upcoming events, about how we want to raise the awareness. There is going to be a run where children will be running for and with children with disabilities, to encourage inclusiveness."


Your source of willpower and why.

"God. Because I believe everything comes from God. The other thing will be my children. Before I had children, it would be my family (they still are) but more so now, it is my children. Whenever I go through certain downs and challenges, aside from the fact that I tell myself that I should get over it and move on, just looking at them is such a great booster and such a strong push for me to do something about it."


The legacy you would like to leave behind.

"What I would like is for my children to be good-natured and responsible, and to believe themselves to be ordinary. But they must aspire and inspire to be extraordinary.

"My late father used to tell me, 'You are a sponge until the day you die.' What he meant by that was that once you settle with what you know or what you have done, then you have stopped progressing. I like that, and I think I would like to share that with my kids."


Your proudest achievement.

"I want to keep going and achieving, but to-date it would be … giving birth and raising my children."


Photos: Shaffiq Farhan

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