Indian-origin Miss England 2019 Bhasha Mukherjee took part in a drive to help raise funds for a United Kingdom (UK) charity working with underprivileged children in Kolkata as part of her beauty with a purpose mission.
A doctor by profession, Mukherjee, who was born in Kolkata, took time out from preparations for the Miss World contest next month to join the Hope Foundation’s annual fundraiser in London last week. The evening raised over GBP 20,000 for the charity through ticket and auction sales and also received several pledges to sponsor children in India.
“I am from Kolkata, so Hope Foundation is very special to me,” said the 23-year-old, who moved to the UK as a nine-year-old and is currently employed as a junior doctor in Lincolnshire, eastern England.
“Hope isn’t just about the children of Kolkata, it’s about children all over the world as well. And my beauty with a purpose project is health education, which I am very passionate about as a doctor. I want to take this platform of Miss England and empower people to take control of their own health and stay well in the community,” she said.
The Hope Foundation was founded in 1999 by Irish humanitarian Maureen Forrest to provide protection and safety to 14 young girls in Kolkata who were forced to survive on the streets. It has since grown from just one protection home to 12 and also operates a range of other outreach projects in Kolkata’s slums and on the city’s streets.
“Our legacy will not be the buildings we have left there (Kolkata), but the thousands of children that we have introduced to education who are in turn breaking the cycle of poverty,” said Forrest, honorary director of the foundation.