Q&A With Miss Earth Semi Finalist Nurayn Ismail

2017-05-24 12:37

We spoke to Nurayn Ismail, aged 22, she is a regional Semi-Finalist for Miss Earth South Africa 2017 and a fourth-year BeD student at The University of the Witwatersrand. She was born in Cape Town, raised in a small town Secunda and currently resides in Johannesburg. With a passion for the environment and shaping the youth of South Africa, she decided to join the Miss Earth programme to achieve her goals. We asked her a few questions...take a look:

1. Why did you enter Miss Earth?

I have always had a passion for the environment and encouraging our youth to help change our future because of the inconvenient truth we face with climate change. I was never self-confident and I heard about the Miss Earth programme on social media and loved that it wasn't just about beauty. It's a programme with a purpose. After I had overcome my past, I developed the courage and self confidence that I always had inside of me to enter as I want to make a difference in other people's lives and our environment. I've always had so many goals but didn't know how to pursue them and through the Miss Earth programme I am achieving them day by day.

2. How does it feel being a semi-finalist?

I remember sitting in a lecture and receiving an email. I couldn't believe it at first that I read the email twice! It's absolutely amazing being a semi-finalist as I feel honored to be accepted into such a brilliant programme and that I will be able to make a difference in my community and the youth around South Africa. Already when I go to schools for projects and seeing the hope and enthusiasm in all the children's eyes, it's definitely an added bonus as that's how I know, they are the future of our country.

3. What are some of the projects you are currently busy with?

I am currently busy with the Miss Earth projects such as the Waste Stops With Me campaign in schools and my community, tree planting and community cleanups. Some of my own projects I am busy with are a recycle project for primary schools in Gauteng known as Swop Shop of turning litter into goods in collaboration with Pikitup. Another project I aim to achieve is a mentorship programme for prisoners through the use of planting vegetables or starting a vegetable garden in the prison. I am still in need of a sponsor for my recycle project and that is why the process of achieving this goal is slow.

4. What do you think you can achieve by becoming Miss Earth?

If I were to be Miss Earth it will enable me to achieve all my goals much easier and this way I will have a bigger impact on South Africa. I've always had a vision - to better the lives of others and being Miss Earth I will be able to help those who are in need and encourage girls such as myself who are not confident that once they overcome their fear, they will be capable of moving mountains! Motivation and encouragement with our youth is important because they are the future of our country.

5. How important is women empowerment in today’s society?

Women empowerment in today's society is extremely important as we need to realize that no matter our gender, we are all powerful. Growing up, I didn't exactly have an easy life. There was no such thing as women empowerment, I grew up thinking that men are the dominant ones in our society and women should stay home. I wasn't allowed to speak up or tell anyone what I was going through and that is also why I am confident today to encourage other women to achieve their goals and become who they want to be. Women play a fundamental part in society and I believe we all have that motherly touch that is needed everywhere.

6. What are some of your hobbies?

My hobbies would sound pretty boring to most but I enjoy crocheting and any good book even children's books. I spend most of time reading climate change articles and watching videos on this. I thoroughly enjoy playing tennis as well.

7. What has been your best achievement to date?

Overcoming my past. I grew up in an abusive home, constantly watching my mother make sacrifices and accepting the abuse just for my sisters and I to have a better future. I was under strict rule that women are meant to be submissive. It was only until 2015 that I had actually gotten over the childhood I had and what my family had been through. Moving to Johannesburg permanently definitely impacted greatly on my life where I was exposed to the real world and only then did I realize how oppressed my mother and sisters were by the life we had. Forgiving what was done and overcoming it was definitely an achievement to me and I am strong enough to follow my passions and help other women who are in or had a past like mine.

8. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it ?

The biggest challenge for me - I was always an introvert and scared to say anything in big crowds, I'd get extremely nervous before speeches and presentations however I overcame it by eliminating that fear and realizing that by communicating and interacting with different people, I grew. I learnt new things and became broader minded. Everyone has something different to teach you, so never turn a conversation away as it might just open new doors for you.

9. What is the one quote that you live by?

"Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter" it's an African proverb that I once heard from someone very special to me. The world is sometimes blind to reality and our eyes filter what we want to see or how we want to see something, however for me it is essential to hear everyone's story especially since everyone has their own point of view. We often listen with our eyes and fail to hear or see the truth.

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