Selena Gomez has had a lot of roles in Hollywood, but few as rewarding as her role in representing UNICEF. The Spring Breakers star, 21, has been a spokesperson for UNICEF since 2008, and an ambassador since 2009. As part of her work with the organization, she has traveled to Chile, Ghana, and, most recently, Nepal.
According to a press release, during her trip to Nepal, Gomez bonded with kids at the Satbariya Rapti Secondary School, where she observed their studies and then joined them in performing traditional dances and folk songs. She also visited with UNICEF-supported female community health volunteers in Gangaparaspur Village to learn about their efforts to reduce illness among children and their mothers.
In Hapur Village, she spoke with women who mediate cases of conflict, domestic violence, and child abuse, as well as survivors who had been helped by those women. And in Dokrena/Khaira Village, she watched young people perform a skit about the importance of sanitation.
"This visit to Nepal was extraordinarily powerful—at times devastating and heartbreaking, but also incredibly inspiring," the "Come & Get It" singer said in a release about the trip. "At first when you witness children living in extreme poverty you wonder how it is possible that they can be deprived of their basic human needs and rights. Then you talk to these children and you see hope, promise, and a bright future."
"This generation of children believes they can make a difference, and they take action," she continued, noting that many of the kids she talked to "expressed a desire to be future leaders" in society. "I was moved to hear them emphasize the importance of education."
Gomez also met several girls who were recruited into the armed conflict that ended eight years ago and have since reintegrated back into their lives and families. "It was difficult to hear about the harsh lives these girls led in the camps, but I was inspired by their motivation to build a better future," she said.
"The children of Nepal have taught me that with a lot of passion, optimism, and hard work, anything is possible," she added. "That's the message I would like to convey to young people across the world: Believe in your dreams and pursue them."