Once a refugee, now a supermodel, Halima Aden takes on children’s rights

Supermodel Halima Aden, once a child refugee herself, is now an ambassador for UNICEF. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Once a refugee, now a supermodel, Halima Aden takes on children’s rights

  • Aden was announced as a UNICEF ambassador in July this year
  • The 20-year-old was the first model to sport a hijab at fashion weeks in both New York and Milan

JEDDAH: Somali-American supermodel Halima Aden, an ambassador for UNICEF, is using her voice to advocate for children’s rights.

The former child refugee, who came to the United States during the Somali Civil War in the early 1990s, shared a video on her social media account on the subject with the hashtag AChildIsAChild, writing: “@unicefusa helps to keep children safe and protects their rights, no matter where they are. That work is more essential now than ever, with nearly 50 million children uprooted across the globe. Who do you hear?”

Aden, who has 680,000 followers on Instagram, was announced as a UNICEF ambassador in July this year. Aden has described her appointment as a “lifelong dream” and her “proudest accomplishment to date.” Her mission is to “put children first.”

As a refugee herself, she possesses a unique understanding of the needs, hopes and dreams of the 30 million children around the world who have been forcibly displaced by conflict.

The 20-year-old was the first model to sport a hijab at fashion weeks in both New York and Milan. She made history by being the first woman to wear a hijab at a Miss USA state pageant and was the first model to wear her hijab on the covers of major women’s magazines, such as Allure, British Vogue and Teen Vogue.

Aden was born in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya, after her family fled civil war in Somalia. She lived there for seven years with her parents before moving to the US. Growing up, UNICEF played an important role in her life as it provided her with an education.

She has earlier stated her concerns about immigrant children who are being separated from their families at the US border.

The pioneering Muslim model’s passion for helping refugees, particularly children, has taken her to many places. The activist most recently visited her refugee camp in Somalia, where she shared her story with hundreds of children.

“Although the children here (in Kakuma) may be refugees, first and foremost they are children. They deserve every opportunity to flourish, to hope, to dream, to be successful,” she had said.

Earlier, she traveled with UNICEF Next Generation from Mexico City to Chiapas, the southern Mexico state bordering Guatemala, where she met with migrants living at local shelters and migrant women attending village schools.

In March this year, Aden inspired students at UNICEF’s Annual Summit in Washington, DC by speaking at the Women’s Empowerment and Leadership panel session.


Duchess of Cambridge stuns in Elie Saab number for first day of Royal Ascot

Updated 18 June 2019
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Duchess of Cambridge stuns in Elie Saab number for first day of Royal Ascot

  • It is the first time the Duchess has worn Saab’s label
  • It appeared blue was the color of the day as there was royal coordination in outfits

LONDON: The Duchess of Cambridge donned a stunning light blue dress designed by renowned Lebanese couturier Elie Saab for the first day of the Royal Ascot meeting on Tuesday.
Catherine sat with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as they swapped from cars at Windsor Great Park to horse-drawn carriages as the UK’s royal family made their journey from Windsor Castle to Ascot Racecourse for the famous week-long flat racing event.
It is the first time the Duchess has worn Saab’s label and she matched the ornate, delicate dress with a striking Philip Treacy hat.

It appeared blue was the color of the day as there was royal coordination in outfits with Queen Elizabeth, Zara (daughter of Princess Anne) and princesses Eugenie and Beatrice all stepping out in ensembles of different shades of blue.
Elie Saab has made himself a must-have designer for celebrities in recent years. Halle Berry, Priyanka Chopra and Katy Perry all wore his work in February at various events.
Superstars like Angelina Jolie, Lily Collins and Freida Pinto — as well as supermodel Winnie Harlow — have also shown off his work in the past, while Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie chose the Lebanese designer for her wedding dress in June 2018.