Miss Progress Human Rights Zea Awatin wants to see ‘Project PEARLS’ kids back in school in 2023
MANILA, Philippines—Even before Zea Awatin captured the Miss Progress Human Rights title in Italy in September, she has been actively involved in the nonprofit organization Project PEARLS (Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love, and Smiles).
The organization seeks to provide scholarship to underprivileged children, and feed the needy, and the 27-year-old international relations graduate hopes that the child beneficiaries will be able to receive more assistance in 2023.
Awatin’s wish is to “have a lot of sponsors to all the scholars of Project PEARLS, that they will enter school again this time,” she told the Inquirer at the sidelines of the presentation of the initial batch of candidates for the first-ever Miss Rotary Philippines pageant held recently at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City. She is also active in Rotary Philippines.
“As of now we are having a hard time looking for or pulling funds for these children,” she shared.
And as the crowned ambassador of human rights in the pageant held in Puglia, Italy, Awatin said her “human rights wish for 2023” is “to inspire other ambassadors to educate the children of Project PEARLS.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Batangueña beauty waited more than a year before she was finally able to participate in the Miss Progress International pageant. She was supposed to leave for Italy in 2021, but the global health crisis took a turn for the worse, and the contest was put on hold.
The global tilt resumed in 2022, and there she was able to sustain the Philippines’ impressive record that started in 2017 with Jedaver Opingo taking the top crown. With another top three finish for the Philippines for the fourth straight year, Awatin is not taking her crown for granted.
“The Miss Progress International pageant helped me open doors so I could share the blessings that I received with other people,” she said. Awatin also said she was recently invited by the Batangas provincial government to discuss future collaborations.
“They are considering me as their ambassador to the young people, especially to those in public schools, that they could be empowered soon,” she said, adding that several projects have already been lined up for her.
Awatin also recently crowned her national successor, college student and model Selin Hernandez, who will represent the Philippines in the 2023 Miss Progress International pageant in Italy in September next year. /ra