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