The winner of the 2019 Miss Nigeria Great Britain, beauty pageant, Mary Dinah, has pledged commitment to tackle the ‘Zero Hunger,’ mandate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal especially among the girl child.
Dinah, who disclosed this Friday in Lagos during the Miss Nigeria Great Britain Crown for 2019, said with the support of Mary Dinah Foundation, she would embark on alleviating hunger and poverty by feeding poor children in Africa with school lunches.
She also affirmed resolve to use her new elevated status to make a positive impact on enhancing the lives of the girl child in Africa.
“I have a big responsibility to use everything I have achieved to make a big impact on society. However, I have chosen Zero Hunger as my main area of focus. Whenever I eat, I think of children who are hungry and have nothing to eat.
“In the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, food is identified as a basic human need together with light, air and water. Before we discuss safety or self actualisation, we have to critically analyse the issue of hunger or else we would not be alive. For me, that is the most important cause and I am looking forward to ensuring that children and those in schools have food and not go hungry,” she noted.
The Chief Executive Officer of Seattle Residences and Spa remarked that two key areas of the nation’s economy which needs urgent attention are unemployment and gender inequality, adding that she has been working on finding solutions to these challenges in the past.
According to her, “I started my charity five years ago with Job-Link Foundation and based on that I always analyze the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics report on unemployment when it’s released three times a year and I have often been invited to CNBC to speak on it regularly for three years now.
“The unemployment rate in Nigeria is in a dire state. We have total unemployment at about 23 percent, with youth unemployment heading towards 50 percent, and female unemployment which people barely look at is edging towards 50 percent as well. That is to say in every 10 women you meet, five are unemployed. It is a very critical situation and has to be given urgent attention.”
Speaking on the issue of gender inequality, Dinah said in the northeast there are young girls being kidnapped from school as well as stopped altogether from going to schools, “a position we must continue to fight against.”
She maintained that the British council report ranked Nigeria as the country with the highest rate of girls out of school in the World, adding that “there are five million girls out of school, a figure much higher than anywhere else in the world. Honestly, there is something we are not doing right.”
According to her, “I strongly believe that our solution to this problem begins when we all come together as one Nigeria without tribal or religious segmentation to solve this problem nationally. Currently, what we see is fragments of regions in the country that are moving forward and others that are lacking behind.
“Nigeria and Lagos, in particular, has a huge potential for tourism. Therefore there is need to support the development of the sector.
“I believe Lagos is a beautiful state and should be seen as a megacity. It has not yet gotten a global frontier such as Miami, London, and Paris.
“Just yesterday I was at a private beach house in Ilase overlooking the ocean which looks like a slice of paradise. Lagos has untold beauty that people including ‘Lagosians’ have not had the chance to explore. I definitely would be using the platform to promote tourism and encourage other people around the world to come to Lagos and experience what we have here.”
She explained that her passion to support humanity dated back to her childhood but got serious expression in 2014 when she established, the Mary Dinah Foundation.
Dinah opined that the foundation has been successful in other youth benevolence programmes including job-link which was Nigeria’s first every job centre and connected over 10,000 people to work.
Speaking on her background and how it helped in winning the beauty pageant, Mary said: “I grew up partly in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom but had always said if I would participate in a beauty pageant it would be Miss Nigeria because this is where I was born and my parents are from here. I definitely was proud to represent my state- Lagos State. The night of the award was beautiful and magical as I was graced with friends and family and the audience cheering for me while on stage. We had various categories such as casual wear and traditional wear to showcase.
“However, I had designed my traditional outfit. My mum’s family is from Niger State and I wanted an outfit that would be a fusion between the South West and the North Central. I designed an ‘Ashoke’ outfit with a short skirt and crop top, mixed with some beads and carried a calabash which made it more colourful and the perfect fusion between Fulani and Yoruba style. I was very happy.”