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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Deborah Priya Henry

Deborah Priya HenryDeborah Priya Henry, (also known as Priya Emmanuel), born on the 21st of July, 1985 in Dublin, Ireland, is a Malaysian Television Host of Indian and Irish descent, former model and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 and Miss Malaysia World 2007.

She was also placed in the Top 15 at Miss World 2007. Henry left her successful modelling career to start a school that would champion the lives of refugee children in Malaysia.

She has also become involved in other initiatives that address immigration, education, refugee issues and children.

This is one spectacular woman who set aside money, fame and a life of glamor and excitement to lend assistance to those she saw who needed assistance to even have the basics of life.

Henry spent her secondary school years at Sayfol International School. She particularly excelled in basketball and volleyball at school, and won a gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur International Schools athletics meet. She received a "Sportswoman of the Year" trophy from her school for her achievements.

Henry began modelling at the age of 15 and modelled in London three years later for seven months. She appeared in Malaysian rock band Estranged's music video "Itu Kamu".

Deborah Priya HenryHenry holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. Her focuses are on human rights advocacy and sustainable development with a long-term goal to eradicate poverty.

Henry started modelling at the age of 15, as a catwalk and print model in Kuala Lumpur. She moved to London in 2003 to further her modeling career, but took a hiatus from modelling in 2004 to further her studies at University in Brisbane, Australia.

She returned to Malaysia in 2007 and participated in Miss Malaysia World 2007. She has also appeared on the covers of Elle India, Harper's Bazaar Malaysia, Marie Claire Malaysia and many more top fashion publications. She has also been featured in Vogue India.

Henry is the Face of Malaysian International Fashion Alliance (MIFA) 2011. Henry won Miss Malaysia World 2007 and represented her country in Miss World 2007. She is notable for having been selected in the top 16, the highest placement a Malaysian woman has achieved since Lina Teoh in 1998.

Henry, who stands 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in), competed in her country's national beauty pageant Miss Universe Malaysia, held on the 27th of January 2011 in Kuala Lumpur.

She became the eventual winner of the title, gaining the right to represent her nation at Miss Universe 2011 as the official representative of Malaysia.

Deborah Priya HenryAt the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, broadcast live from São Paulo, Brazil on the 12th of September 2011. Although she was a heavy favourite by pageants' blogs and websites, but she was not placed in the Top 16 by the judges.

Henry was also one of the three hosts for Bella, a magazine style talk show with Daphne Iking and Elaine Daly.

Henry was also one of the cast for The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines, a Malaysian film released on the10th of March 2011.

In March of 2017, Henry released a ready-to-wear clothing line named Deborah Henry x FashionValet: Laidback Luxe. In collaboration with Fashion Valet, the line features clothing intended for trendy travelers.

Henry co-founded Fugee School, a non-profit charity organisation that provides basic education to Somalian refugee children. To date, the school has educated more than 250 students, and currently nurturing 130 students from age four to 22.

Upon meeting a Somali refugee family in Malaysia, she was moved to open a learning centre for them in 2009 which she called Fugee School – a school open to all refugees and stateless children.

She has spent many years advocating for children and refugee rights and has continually worked to improve access and opportunity for refugee communities to better their lives.

Deborah Priya HenryDeborah’s continual commitment to humanitarian work led her to become World Vision’s Child’s Rights Advocate and she has travelled the world visiting various community projects and initiatives.

In 2013, she was included in Forbes list of top Asian Philanthropists.

“A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.

A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so.”

“The 1951 Geneva Convention is the main international instrument of refugee law. The Convention clearly spells out who a refugee is and the kind of legal protection, other assistance and social rights he or she should receive from the countries who have signed the document.”

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation. She also speaks for the Harper's Bazaar The Pink Project PSA 2010. Henry became the ambassador for Yes, I Can Campaign, an educational, awareness & advocacy campaign for the prevention of unplanned & unwanted pregnancy in Malaysia.

In 2013, Henry was included in Forbes’s list of top Asian philanthropists for her contribution in "helping the many refugees from war-torn Somalia who had found their way to Malaysia".

Deborah Priya HenryIn 2016, in conjunction with the holy month of Ramadan, Henry launched a personal fundraiser under World Vision Malaysia to raise money for displaced Syrian nationals seeking refuge in Lebanon.

Henry is married to Malaysian entrepreneur, Dr Rajiv Bhanot on the 27th of February, 2017 in a ceremony held at Udaipur, India. They met when Henry was only sixteen years old.

Deborah also co-founded Fugee School, a non-profit charity organisation which provides basic education to Somalian refugee children. www.fugeeschool.com

"What we impart to these children is that no matter how privileged or marginalised we are, we all have to make choices. So dream big, start small, take the little steps."

There are 33,640 refugee children in Malaysia and at Fugee School they try to ignite the endless passion for learning and growing in every child.

"We want every Fugee student to realise their full potential and value by equipping them with the right academic, creative and other life skills.

We are determined to accomplish this in an environment free from discrimination and exclusion. We know that education is the key that can open doors to a brighter future."

Deborah Priya Henry"Many refugee children have had disrupted educational backgrounds. Some of them have not received any education in years, due to war and unstable political and economic situations in their countries of origin."

"In Malaysia, their situation is not an easy one, with their access to education, jobs and healthcare restricted."

"In Malaysia, Only 28% of refugee children of school going age are receiving some form of education in various learning centers."

"This is why Fugee School exists - to provide equitable access to education so that no child gets left behind."

"Today, November 20, 2019, is the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child - it is absolutely vital for everyone to remember and renew their commitment to uphold and realise the rights of all children, especially the most vulnerable." - Deborah Priya Henry, World Vision Child Rights Advocate

Since 1989, the world has seen amazing change, and more children are seeing their rights protected than ever before.

However, for the most vulnerable children, those living with a disability, in extreme poverty or whose families have been touched by war and conflict, these rights are often more of a wish than a reality.

Deborah Priya HenryLearn more about how World Vision raises awareness on child rights, and equips communities to ensure that children have a voice and role at:


Today, World Vision is helping more than 100 million people through its various development, humanitarian and emergency relief programmes.

With more than 45,000 staff in 100 countries, it is one of the largest relief organisations in the world.

From beauty queen to a champion for education, Deborah Priya Henry is definitely an inspiring force to be reckoned with.

“I work a lot with marginalised communities or stateless individuals and the lack of equality to give treat and judge everyone in a similar manner leads up to many unwanted problems.

We need to include this group of individuals, put an end to the stigma and assist them through difficult times so our country can prosper and thrive.” says Deborah.

"No matter how privileged or marginalised we are, we all have to make choices. Dream big, start small, take the little steps." - Deborah Henry.

Deborah Priya Henryzafigo.com

Zafigo is a travel information platform for women travelling to and around Asia, and therefore will highlight things and share experiences which are unique to and more relevant to the concerns and more from the point of view of a woman.

It does not intend to replace other existing travel guides and websites currently found on in the Internet, rather it is meant to complement and provide information, tips and guides that may not be readily available or is difficult to find online.

Zafigo is also meant to be a platform for women travellers to share their experience with other women travellers, and to ultimately connect with and to help each other to make their travels to Asia safer, better, more productive and more fun.

ZafigoX 2018 was an event for women to learn, discover, be inspired, and meet other bold, adventurous, and extraordinary women. With talks, workshops, and panel discussions by awe-inspiring women from all around the world, learn how you can begin your independent travels in safer, easier, and more informed ways.

It was also held in 2019 and the next event will be announced after the COVID-19 Pandemic has been contained and world travel is once again available. www.zafigo.com/zafigox2018

See videos of the events held at ZafigoX 2018. The guest speakers and the learning panels. www.zafigo.com/zafigox2018/videos

Deborah Priya HenryDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world have been advised to #stayhome as part of Movement Control Orders (MCO) and quarantines to prevent the spread of the disease.

While many understand why staying home is absolutely necessary, it isn’t easy for some. There have been reports of increased mental and emotional stress, anxiety, and even cleithrophobia – the fear of being trapped, locked in, or unable to leave.

To help lift your spirits and keep your wanderlust alive, Zafigo would like to introduce the first edition of ZafigoZine, a bite-sized compilation of the best and most relevant content from Zafigo that you may have missed.

This first issue of ZafigoZine features excerpts of our COVID-19 articles with helpful ideas and suggestions on how you can keep from going stir-crazy while in quarantine.

Watch films that will take you to exotic locations, go on virtual tours that will satiate your craving for culture and exploration, and experiment with mouthwatering recipes that will bring the world into your home.

While it may not be the ultimate fix, it is a little something to help keep your lockdown blues at bay. Visit Zafigo.com

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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look

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