Special Feature: #HealingVenezuela

The three most recent Miss Universe titleholders from Venezuela have come together for the first time in a united effort with AID for AIDS International to launch Healing Venezuela, a new fundraising effort to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuelan babies affected by malnutrition. The campaign launched today and features Maria Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013; Stefanía Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009; and, Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008; along with three exclusive t-shirt designs from designer Ricardo Seco’s Spring 2018 collection, Healing. The t-shirts are on sale at www.healingvenezuela.com and all proceeds will support the mission of abating infantile malnutrition in Venezuela.

According to Caritas Internationalis, 54% of children in Venezuela have some level of nutritional deficiency and 5-6 children die of malnutrition every week.  AID for AIDS International has over 20 years of experience addressing the humanitarian crisis surrounding access to treatment for HIV and AIDS and has provided medicines to thousands of patients around the world who without their help would go without critical treatment. The organization intends to leverage that experience to bring relief to Venezuelan children suffering from malnutrition and has a goal of raising enough funds to provide infant formula to mothers who cannot breastfeed due to their health condition so that they can feed 5,000 babies throughout the first 24 months of their life.*
Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008
I’m joining the Healing Venezuela campaign due to the seriousness of child malnutrition in the country, causing the loss of a large number of innocent children. Malnutrition affects children not only Physically but psychologically, this is a humanitarian emergency that requires the immediate and active support of all and we are asking for your help! I am lucky to be one of the first to wear this special t-shirt and now you can have it too!. Every t-shirt could save a life. Visit http://www.healingvenezuela.com and buy yours for only $30.
Stefania Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009 (translated from Google)
Today I have joined for the first time with my two sisters to be an echo of a painful and real crisis that is experienced in our beloved Venezuela. The crisis of child malnutrition is a humanitarian emergency. 4 out of 10 children do not grow adequately due to malnutrition; Approximately 5 to 6 children die every week for this same reason. Alarming and painful! – – Let’s not let our children die; our future! – – Thanks to the initiative and effort of @aidforaids you can join this cause. Visit http://www.healingvenezuela.com – – With your purchase of this shirt, you will be donating the equivalent of one month of infant formula. Let us be the ones who heal Venezuela!
Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013 (Translated from Google)
We were lucky to be the first to wear these special shirts, and now you can also wear one ✨. . We all know that the crisis of child malnutrition in #Venezuela is a humanitarian emergency and we have to take action, that is why we join the beautiful initiative of @aidforaids 🇻🇪 … Visit http://www.healingvenezuela.com and, starting at USD $ 30, purchase yours: each donation can provide the equivalent of one month of infant formula 👶🏽👶🏻🥛… T-shirt designs are exclusive to @secoricardo 🙌🏻. . We are honored to be able to share this campaign with all of you, and from now on we thank you for joining us💛💙❤ •

Several weeks ago, I have read a harrowing New York  Times article on the severity of the malnutrition problem in Venezuela. Hospitals running out of medicines to treat children, parents scurrying everywhere for infant formula, doctors exasperated with the lack of basic hospital tools for treatment, families stick thin and burying infants and children in tiny coffins… It was a heartbreaking read. And I hope everyone would take time to read the NY Times article to get a full picture of the situation…
So to shed light on this issue, I thought it would be a good way to share how anyone in the world could help one life. This post may have been several weeks late but I still hope that it could still stir up goodwill among everyone in the pageant industry.
SOURCES:
* https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/01/18/1296626/0/en/AID-FOR-AIDS-INTERNATIONAL-LAUNCHES-HEALING-VENEZUELA-TO-HELP-THE-LIVES-OF-5-000-INFANTS.html
* Instagram accounts of @dayanamendoza, @gabrielaisler and @stefaniafernandezk

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Multiple Alpha Pageant wins in a Single Year

Did you know that every decade since the 1950’s there is at least one country that has won two of the Alpha pageants in the same year? And did you know that only 7 countries has managed to achieve that remarkable feat? If you are curious as to which countries has managed to achieve that feat, then look no further as we list them out for you…

France, 1953 – Miss Universe Christiane Martel & Miss World Denise Perrier, the country to first achieve this enviable feat. 
Brazil, 1968 – Miss Universe Martha Vasconcellos & Miss International Maria da Glória Carvalho

Australia, 1972 – Miss Universe Kerry Anne Wells & Miss World Belinda Green
Venezuela, 1981 – Miss Universe Irene Saez & Miss World Pilin Leon

India, 1994 – Miss Universe Sushmita Sen & Miss World Aiswarya Rai
India, 2000 – Miss Universe Lara Dutta & Miss World Priyanka Chopra

Ecuador, 2011 – Miss Earth Olga Alava & Miss International Fernanda Cornejo
Venezuela, 2013 – Miss Universe Gabriela Isler & Miss Earth Alyz Henrich

Philippines, 2013 – Miss International Bea Rose Santiago & Miss World Megan Young 
Philippines, 2015 – Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach & Miss Earth Angelia Ong
Among these countries that has achieved this feat, only three countries are able to do it twice: Venezuela, India and the Philippines. It is no wonder that these countries are among the pageant powerhouses there is. 

Miss Universe and Philanthropy

One of the biggest criticisms that the Miss Universe gets is that its charity/ philanthropic arm isn’t as wide or as strong as that of its other international counterparts. Today we list down a few Miss Universe winners that have been doing their part in special charities and advocacies that is close to them. Meet 7 Miss Universe Winners that Matter…
 
Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Universe 1998 – after her reign, she pursued and continued her law studies and passed the bar exams. She was also involved in the Trinidad Guardian’s Guardian in Education: Making a Difference project, a series of motivational school tours that aims to promote the development of her country’s diversity. She was also appointed the Red Cross Ambassador of Youth for the Caribbean.
Mpule Kwelagobe, Miss Universe 1999 –  has been recognized and honored as a human health rights activist in her country, especially for her fight against HIV/AIDS. For which she was honored with the Jonathan Mann Health Human Rights Award by the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC). She advocates for youth and women to have greater access to sexual reproductive education and services.

Michelle McLean, Miss Universe 1992 – founded the Michelle McLean Children’s Trust in Namibia, which focuses on the education and care of under-privileged children.  The Trust built a primary school in her name and provides education for 900 children. She was presented with The Life Time Achievement Award for her philanthropy work by the Miss Universe organization in 1998. 
Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013 – launched the Universe of Blessings Fund, where she is also CEO, which seeks to empower young women and girls and decrease the rates of adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality, issues which are especially problematic in her native Venezuela. Deeply concerned about the victims of human trafficking and its devastating impact on young women, Gabriela is an ambassador for the Scalabrini International Migration Network.

Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011 –  involved in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and the discrimination that people with the disease experience. As Miss Universe she used her title to champion HIV/AIDS prevention and works with organizations such as YouthAIDS/PSI, Latino Commission on AIDS, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, among others. She was also named Drylands Ambassador by the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in an effort to combat land degradation – an issue that affects not only her country but the entire continent of Africa.
Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015 – is an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate who was named a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacificafter her reign. She been actively involved in humanitarian affairs, speaking out against cyberbullying and supporting people living with HIV, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.
Jennifer Hawkins, Miss Universe 2004 -she has donated not only her time but also auction items to many Australian charities including Sydney Cancer Foundation, The Sydney Children’s Hospital, Canteen and Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as being a patron for HCRF (Hunter Children’s Research Foundation). She also has worked to raise awareness for heart disease she also participated in the Red Dress campaign. On 6 January 2010, Hawkins appeared naked  on the February cover of Marie Claire Australia magazine to support the Butterfly Foundation and encourage positive attitudes to body image.

There are several countless other winners who have lent a hand to their favorite charities and other advocacies that we haven’t listed here. Almost all of the recent MU winners of the psat 20 or so years have lent time and effort to the HIV-AIDS advocacy of the pageant, as well as women empowerment and child education initiatives. Which only goes to show that the Miss Universe organization and its winners are truly living up to being confidently beautiful with a heart…