Spreading kindness

Beauty pageant winner Priyaa Simmi wants to empower women and encourage Malaysians to be environmentally friendly

30 Sep 2020 / 09:28 H.

LAST year, the gorgeous Priyaa Simmi was crowned Mrs Malaysia World 2019. This dynamic 25-year-old woman runs four businesses – a security company, a beauty spa, an online boutique and a rehab centre for stroke patients.

Despite her hectic work schedule, she still spares time to spread kindness. In 2012, she set up an organisation called Persatuan Kemajuan Kebajikan Malaysia Sai Malaysia, purely for the purposes of performing charitable acts.

One of her earliest charitable events was providing makeup classes, tailoring lessons and sewing machines to a group of single mothers, with the aim of giving them the means to earn their own income.

Priyaa also believes that women from all walks of life should be financially independent.

“When you are financially independent, you will not suffer from a low self- esteem,” she says.

“When you suffer from low self-esteem, you are vulnerable. When you are vulnerable, you are easily exposed to all kinds of abuse.

“I want to empower women so they can come out from their shells and spread their wings to soar high.”

She has also been visiting a centre for disabled children over the past ten years, providing food, and playing games and dancing with the children.

She has also been financially supporting the medical expenses for stray dogs that have been saved by NGOs, as well as donating a water filter to a school.

One of her most recent charitable activities was conducting a workshop for 25 women, teaching them how to apply makeup to appear more presentable when they attend interviews and speak to their clients.

She also brought in a financial advisor to give tips to these women so that they can be financially independent.

During the recent movement control order (MCO), she also worked with the crowdfunding platform KitaFund to raise donations to purchase provisions for underprivileged families.

She says: “Covid-19 has caused many people to lose their jobs. They are struggling to survive. We were able to raise more than RM250,000.”

Earlier this year, she took a new cause under her wing. She is trying to encourage people to use less plastic.

She watched a documentary where she learned that plastic pollution causes harm to humans, animals and plants.

“It can take hundreds or even thousands of years for plastic to break down, so you can imagine the long-lasting environmental damage caused by plastic,” she says.

“It is so sad to see that a lot of animals in the sea have died as a result of accidentally consuming plastic.”

For starters, Priyaa tries to bring her own cup to places that serve their drinks in a plastic cup.

“I will bring my own steel straw and refuse to use plastic straws,” she says.

This year, she participated in the global movement Plastic Free July, where people are encouraged to use less plastic throughout the month of July.

She shares news of the initiatives she has taken in terms of using less plastic across her social media accounts, and she is glad to note she has inspired many others to follow in her footsteps.

“If we want to leave a healthy planet for the next generation, it is essential that we consume less plastic,” she says.

With so many companies to run, besides being a wife, one wonders how she finds time for charitable works?

“I always emphasise the importance of time-management,” she says.

“I have allocated enough time for all my plans, and work out proper schedules for everything I am involved in. Being an organised person has made it a tad bit easier for me to juggle between my businesses, events, charities and also my family.”

When asked what inspired her to be charitable, she says: “Giving back to society did not begin with me. I grew up watching my father helping so many underprivileged families and providing them with the basic necessities; for example, sponsoring uniforms for students.”

It is also fortunate that she married into a family that also actively participates in numerous charity events.

“Growing up and living in a family who gives back to society has taught me the importance and satisfaction that can be derived from helping others to live better lives,” she says.

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