Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra says affluent people often think higher education is not needed for their girls and as the brand ambassador for Unicef, her top priority will be educating young and underprivileged girls in slums and villages.
"I have been unofficially associated with Unicef since the last few years and I have been involved with certain activities. I went to slums to meet girls and to understand the grassroots problem.
"It is sad to see how many girls are subjected to work rather than being educated, be married rather than play and bear kids when they themselves are so young," Priyanka, who was officially named brand ambassador for Unicef Tuesday, told reporters here.
"Now, as the brand ambassador of Unicef, I can officially lend my voice to this cause of girl education. I am proud that my parents gave me the value and importance of education and of being self-made. They gave me the right to live and the freedom to be whatever I want, they gave me the power to dream and I hope every parent can do that," she added.
The 28-year-old, who worked worldwide for various causes when she won the Miss World title in 2000, pointed out that there are affluent Indians who feel higher studies are a waste for their girls.
"I live in Mumbai and move around in the most affluent circles. There you meet these people who think that no higher education is needed for their girls because they have to be married into a rich family anyway.
"But please, let your girls explore their potential and let them achieve their potential. If this is how the educated class will behave, why expect so much from the underprivileged," she said.
As the brand ambassador, Priyanka now plans to be readily involved in speaking to various families in rural cities and villages and hold lectures for them. She hopes her efforts may bring about a positive change.
"I am neither in the government, nor am I the president. I am just raising my voice as a celebrity. There are people who listen to me and get influenced. I use my popularity and star status for a good cause. And I will continue doing so even when I do not remain a star, because as a human being, these causes matter to me."