Celebrity Spotlight: Jacqueline Fernandez

Jacqueline Fernandez building alongside volunteers during a Jacqueline Builds campaign.

As a famous Bollywood actress and Miss Universe of Sri Lanka 2006, you might not think of Jacqueline Fernandez as an individual devoted to giving back. In reality, she’s used her fame as a platform to bolster support for Habitat and has helped tens of thousands of families.

Jacqueline Fernandez

Fernandez is a former model, turned famous Bollywood actress and Habitat humanitarian.

After obtaining a degree in mass communication from the University of Sydney in Australia, she worked as a television reporter in Sri Lanka.

In 2006, Fernandez was crowned the winner of the Miss Universe Sri Lanka pageant, representing her country in the 2006 Miss Universe pageant.

Although she was working as a reporter and was actively involved in modelling and pageantry, Fernandez had always dreamed of becoming a hit movie star. While her sights were set on Hollywood, her breakthrough into an even bigger film industry was forthcoming.

Her acting debut was in the 2009 rendition of the film Aladin, playing the character Princess Jasmine. She’s since established a successful acting career in Bollywood. With more film productions annually, more tickets sold and more actors working in Bollywood than Hollywood, Fernandez truly has attained her dream of making it into the big leagues.

Jacqueline Builds

Jacqueline Builds is a campaign launched by Habitat India, in collaboration with the famous actress, working to support families affected by severe flooding. Not only did Fernandez donate her own money and time, she also mobilized fans to support their mission to provide relief following the a series of floods between 2015 and 2018.

Jacqueline Builds Phase 1: Tamil NaduPhase 1 of Jacqueline Builds was in Tamil Nadu, India

In 2015, heavy rainfall from a monsoon affected states in southern India, specifically Tamil Nadu. During these floods, more than 500 people were killed and over 1.8 million people were displaced.

The focus of this project was on rebuilding homes fully or partially damaged by the flooding. Fernandez worked alongside 150 volunteers from corporate organizations and schools across India. They build alongside families impacted by the disaster.

She spread awareness across social media to leverage support and met with contributors to rally motivation.

Jacqueline Builds Phase 2: KeralaJacqueline Fernandez traveled to Kerala with her campaign.

Kerala is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India, which was severely affected by flooding in 2018. Caused by excessive rainfall during their monsoon season, it marked the worst flood in Kerala in nearly a century. Thousands of families were left without shelter and basic necessities.

From this campaign, 93,889 families received First Responders’ Kits, Humanitarian Aid Kits and 44,000 litres of drinking water were distributed.

Aluva is the most recent location Jacqueline Builds has traveled.

Jacqueline Builds Phase 3: Aluva

For the third phase of Jacqueline Builds, Fernandez travelled to Aluva (a municipality in the state Kerala) in January 2019, where residents were struggling to recover from the damage caused by 2018 flooding in Kerala.

Through this phase of the campaign, their target was to help 500 flood-affected families through constructing disaster-resilient Habitat homes.

Young Leaders Build 2016

Fernandez was also featured in a video, along with eight other celebrities, encouraging youth in the Asia-Pacific region to support the annual Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign.

The campaign rallies hundreds of thousands of young people to take part in simultaneous Habitat build projects or to support the cause through donations.

This Young Leaders Build saw record-breaking participation with over 1.7 million youth supporters.

About Habitat India

Founded in 1983, Habitat India is one of the largest housing programs in the Asia-Pacific region.

India is facing a housing crisis, with an urban housing shortage of 18.78 million units and a rural housing shortage of 28.9 million units, and Habitat India is working to find the solution.

In the past 35 years, Habitat India has improved the lives of over 4.3 million families.

For more information on Habitat India, visit their website.

To learn more about Habitat HM and the work we’re doing within our local community to expand affordable housing, visit our website.

By: Olivia Kabelin