Strauss will be spearheading a new charitable initiative for herself and future Miss World titleholders raising funds toward bursaries for disadvantaged young girls in South Africa in order that they can be trained to become the doctors of the future.

Says Strauss: “The statistics in South Africa breaks my heart. For every 100 South African students only 51 make it to senior year, only 40 graduate high school, only 16 qualify for University or College and in the end only two will graduate with a degree. I’d like to help change these statistics. As a woman and a medical student I believe education empowers women with knowledge, skills, self-confidence and social and economic status. These qualities enable women to become actively involved and participate meaningfully in our global economy. Given the number of young women who are uneducated and unemployed and therefore vulnerable in every possible way, the education and mentoring of girls is critical.”

Speaking at the gala dinner held in celebration of the Tomorrow Trust’s tenth birthday, Strauss said, “I want to see at least 20 young girls become qualified medical professionals over the next several years. We plan to add an additional 10 girls to the project each year.”

‘Beauty with a Purpose’ was created by Miss World CEO Julia Morley, over 40 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to support the disadvantaged in over 100 countries through this program.

Morley has expressed her deep appreciation for the work of the Tomorrow Trust. “We are proud to give the campaign our full support. We have pledged over R100 000 to the project tonight and hope to see corporations from all over the world join the campaign.”

Strauss added, “This will not only improve the lives of the young girls who are given this opportunity, but over time as they qualify, it will transform the medical care that they will give back to their communities.”

Suzette van der Merwe, managing executive of the Cell C Foundation, says the project is in line with Cell C’s values and its continued commitment to gender equity. “Offering bursaries to girls provides a long term investment in achieving the goal of empowering women. Since 2013, the Cell C Girl Child Bursary Fund in partnership with Tomorrow Trust has been supporting 20 beneficiaries from disadvantaged backgrounds to obtain formal qualifications. Thanks to ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ and Rolene’s generous support we can now achieve our goal of increasing the fund’s sustainability and impact.”

Founder and CEO of Tomorrow Trust, Kim Feinberg, is excited to see the project succeed: “Having Miss World join us on this journey is an honour as she is not only smart, educated and beautiful but also committed to the success of our children and youth in South Africa. Tomorrow Trust delivers results in a much needed systemically broken education system in South Africa. Through education, psycho social support, life skill development and academic support we have managed to achieve astounding results that shows our South African youth are indeed our future to a successful country moving forward.”

Strauss has called on corporate South Africa to donate a bursary, “I know we can do this; I have seen our nation come together to work for the greater good. We’re remarkable when we put our collective minds and hearts to work,” she says of her project, which calls for a collaboration between the private and public sectors along with ordinary citizens.

For more information, connect with Rolene Strauss on Twitter using the #BeautyWithAPurpose hashtag.