South Sudanese-British model Alek Wek - Official Facebook Page South Sudanese-British model Alek Wek - Official Facebook Page

Sudanese British Model Alek Wek: WYF important for listening to youth

Mon, Nov. 6, 2017
CAIRO – 6 November 2017: South Sudanese-British model Alek Wek is participating in the World Youth Forum (WYF), proving that the security level in Egypt is at the highest level.

Although she was warned against visiting Egypt, she insisted on participating in the WYF.

“I find that security is at the highest level and I advise all my friends to come and spend their vacation in Sharm El-Sheikh to enjoy its wonderful weather and views,” Wek said; expressing her gratitude to the organizing committee for their efforts in holding the forum.

Regarding her activities for women and children’s rights, she focuses on educating young people as every effort exerted on children and youth would be reflected in future development and the ways to address future challenges.

“We should hold forums like the WYF again as they strengthen youth by listening to them through forums,” she added.

She finds it difficult to finance activities for the rights of women and refugees, stressing that these activities are funded by organizations of civil community to support youth, children, refugees and victims of war as they cannot live the rest of their lives in refugee camps.

Born to a middle-class family in Sudan, Wek found her life suddenly in shambles when civil war broke out among outlaw militias, the Muslim-dominated government, and southern rebels. The conflict not only killed two million people, it also created an entire community of refugees, including Wek's family. She then sought asylum in London at the age of 14.

She explains that her life in refugee camps was tragic, which is why she wants to help refugees living in such camps.

Having witnessed first-hand the struggles a refugee encounters, she further noted the challenges faced by African women such as caring for their families, upkeep of the household and education. On this regard, she urges all governments to care for girls’ education as educating one girl could educate a whole family.

Although she suffered from psoriasis, a skin condition, from infancy until the age of 14, she was discovered at an outdoor market in 1995 in Crystal Palace, London by a modeling scout. Then, she appeared in the music video for “GoldenEye” by Tina Turner that year, and shortly thereafter began fashion modeling.

She was named “Model of the Year” in 1997 by MTV and was the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle magazine that year. Concluding, Wek advised women who want to be models to feel self-confident, to love what they do and find their way into the fashion world.

Wek pays usual visits to refugee camps in her South Sudan hometown, besides her visit to the 35,000-strong refugee camp of Yusuf Batil in the Upper Nile state.

The World Youth Forum (WYF) kicked off on Saturday in Sharm El-Sheikh, South Sinai under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Egypt’s first international youth event is set to run until November 10, bringing together 3,000 youths represented by 60 delegations from around the world.

The seven-day gathering witnesses the participation of official youth representatives over 18 years old, leaders of various youth networks, heads of state, media figures and around 250 young Egyptian expats. It is held under the theme "We Need to Talk."
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