Award-winning global movie star and Nepal earthquake survivor Michelle Yeoh travelled back to Kathmandu last week as a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador. She visited the capital and surrounding villages and exchanged stories with fellow survivors of overcoming fear and loss and gaining strength and hope.
“I am humbled and amazed by the tenacity of the Nepali people,” said Yeoh during her visit to communities that have made progress in getting back on their feet with the help of UNDP’s earthquake recovery efforts. “The sincerity of their smiles and the spirit of hard work that prevails is an inspiration for us all.”
“Michelle often plays tough women in her movies. I am glad she was able to see how tough the Nepali women and all victims have been after last year’s earthquake,” said Renaud Meyer, Country Director for UNDP Nepal, which is focused on restoring the local economy and livelihoods and strengthening affected communities.
Yeoh also met with Nepalese government officials to emphasize the importance of preparedness and resilience building in order to minimize tragedy and loss in the future.
“My terrifying experience as the earth rattled made me realize the crucial importance of preparing for disaster long before it happens,” said Yeoh, speaking before members of parliament in Kathmandu. “The UN Development Programme is ensuring that communities throughout the country are prepared to withstand and recover from disasters.”
Disaster risk reduction is vital for sustainable development in Nepal and is an integral part of the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by world leaders and went into effect this year. Also known as Global Goals, they represent a shared vision for the future of humanity where poverty and inequality are a thing of the past.
Supporting the implementation of the Global Goals in Nepal and around the world, by tackling poverty, inequality and climate change, is a priority in UNDP’s work. As UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, a key part of Yeoh’s role is to raise awareness of and build momentum and support for these Goals.
“Let’s all join forces, share our strengths and make these Global Goals a reality for Nepal and every country in the world,” said Yeoh. “Together we can create a future where every community, rich or poor, is better prepared to withstand disasters, to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to combat climate change, and to eliminate poverty and inequality.”