Catriona Gray laments big number of dropouts from supported charity Young Focus

Earl D.C. Bracamonte - Philstar.com
Catriona Gray laments big number of dropouts from supported charity Young Focus
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray
ABS-CBN / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Four years after her reign as Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray continues to shine in the pageant events she attended, here and abroad.

Recently, the 4th titleholder from the country graced the Miss Universe Vietnam 2022 pageant as member of the selection committee, together with reigning Miss Universe Haarnaz Sandhu and Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova of Canada.

 During the Queens Press Conference, Cat remained as glib as ever; bravely answering the questions from Vietnamese mediamen.

In fact, her airport arrival in Vietnam was likened to that of her 2018 touchdown in Bangkok, where throngs of pageant fanatics and aficionados welcomed her. Some observers even commented that fans and supporters were more agog over her than with the new Vietnamese national winners.

During her short stay in Vietnam, she was able to don some outfits created by local designers, including an ao dai-inspired gossamer gown custom-made for her by fashion designer Hoang Hai. She also gamely wore the country's national costume - the Ao dai - in another event. A staunch advocate of Filipino textile and fashion, the Fil-Aussie beauty queen gave the spotlight to Viet designs in the meantime.

With the 72nd Miss Universe pageant just around the corner, Cat may be seen gracing other national pageants, notably that of South Africa where she has been a perennial presence since winning the crown. Interestingly, Miss Universe Organization Chief Executive Officer Amy Emmerich and President Paula Shugart were with Cat and the other queens at the Miss Universe Vietnam 2022 final show.

Prior to judging Miss Universe Vietnam, Catriona sat down with Philstar.com and shared the status of the non-profit organization she supports, Young Focus.

According to herm the pandemic presented new challenges to the children-oriented organization because most schools migrated online.

"If you think about it, that alone is a privilege. 'Yung mga bata sa mga underprivileged areas, wala silang mga computer or tablets, let alone wifi. So nahirapan lang 'yung Young Focus to adjust to the program because they don’t want to leave their houses, they don’t have access to online learning. The only source was handouts and parents don’t want to go out for handouts," she shared following her launch as new brand ambassador for beauty label Cetaphil.

The children beneficiaries have already returned to face-to-face classes on limited capacity. She is also part of establishing another building in Cavite because many Tondo beneficiaries relocated here.

Pre-pandemic, around 800 kids attended the in-person classes. But now, Cat is working on securing more scholarships and encouraging kids to go back to school because Young Focus saw a high rate of dropouts during the pandemic.

Founded in 2016, Young Focus provides Early Childhood Care and Development for toddlers, as well as enroll children into the local schools and provide educational support and coaching through tutorials, life skills, social and creative development. It also aims to motivate and prepare children and youth who have dropped out of school so that they will be able to move on to elementary, high school or college. It also gives individual social support and social education for all the students and their families.

RELATED: Return Miss Universe to Binibini? Catriona Gray weighs in


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