Mrs India in foundation fund-raiser

2016-02-17 06:00
PHOTO: Peter Wickham Riona Rajkumar.

PHOTO: Peter Wickham Riona Rajkumar.

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THE reigning Mrs India South Africa 2015, Riona Rajkumar from Pietermaritzburg, will help to raise funds to build the first Serve, Help and Empower (She) Foundation shelter to help women in need.

Since her crowning in August 2015 Rajkumar has been involved in various charity drives in Pietermaritzburg and Durban. She has been working closely with the She foundation and has been instrumental in raising awareness about it.

One of the aims of the foundation is to build a place of safety, an overnight sanctuary, for destitute women and their children under the age of 18.

“This is the first shelter we are trying to get built and it’s to help women get back on their feet. We are looking for a premises that will be easily accessible for women to get to. We would also like it to become self-sustaining so our plan is to get a property that has a hall which can be rented out and also run a tea garden from there,” said Rajkumar.

The She Foundation will be officially launched by the Mrs India South Africa organisation on 20 February at the Breakers Hotel, Umhlanga.

During her reign as Mrs India South Africa, Rajkumar has met many interesting people and networked with various role players in Pietermaritzburg, forming links with them and making it easier to promote the foundation, but also her personal charity drives. She has been on radio stations and has been given platforms at events where she was able to encourage others.

“It’s been a whirlwind journey thus far and I am making every minute count. It’s not about the glamorous side of things, I am using all these opportunities to inspire others. I’m a normal mother and wife and have various roles to play in my personal life so it’s all about juggling them and making the most of every opportunity.”

Rajkumar said she has had overwhelming support from her parents, husband and family and said that her son is her biggest fan.

“He’s very protective of my crown.”

Rajkumar added her journey has raised her confidence and opened many door of opportunity.

“It’s been going well. I am very lucky to have the support of organisations and the community, which has allowed me to pursue my passion to help others. I’ve never stopped doing what I love and hope others will also remain committed to the things in life they enjoy doing. It’s all about never giving up.”

Rajkumar’s next charity drive will be creating awareness about multiple sclerosis after her mother was diagnosed with the disease.

“I want to give back to her and also make the public aware of the illness because it is not one that is in the forefront of public exposure,” she said.

Speaking about her plans once her reign is over, Rajkumar said she is writing a poetry book with her husband who also shares a passion for poetry.

“There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, but I want the book to mean something special to everyone who reads it. It will include poems about life and personal life experiences.”

For more information about the She Foundation or to sponsor towards the shelter, contact Anusha Bisaal­ (CEO) Keshni Yelumalay, Tracy Maharaj tmaharaj or Riona Rajkumar RionaR@nedbank.

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