Giving back to society

Published in Slogan (Dec ’09)

Celebrities owe their fame and success to the society they belong to. Their support of a cause can have a profound impact and make a big difference. Some philanthropic celebrities stand out for their true commitment to a cause or an issue – they make time to speak out and influence people.

Ayesha Hoda catches up with television actress Samina Peerzada, who has recently been working hard to raise awareness about breast cancer amongst women in Pakistan – a country where incidence of the disease is very high.

Samina Peerzada needs no introduction. She is definitely a role model for many Pakistani women, not only because of her looks and style but also because she comes across as a strong person, both on screen and behind the camera.

As it was hard to find time for a one-on-one chat with this talented and beautiful actress due to her busy schedule, she was kind enough to settle for a telephonic interview.

Samina is campaigning for breast cancer these days and was happy to talk about her activities, “I was part of a formal campaign but that has not been fully executed so now I am working on my own to raise awareness. Whatever opportunity I get to talk about this issue, I avail it. My mother had breast cancer so I know what she went through and that early detection can make a huge difference

“Breast cancer can be detected at an early stage if women keep track of changes in their body and resulting
mood swings. They should get a check-up done every six months and go for self-examination when taking
a shower, etc.

“It is important to raise awareness that cancer is curable. When women discover that they have cancer,
they become scared because they think that it is always a matter of life and death, which is not true in every situation. They can get better with treatment and live for many years. People with any type of cancer can have comfortable and happy lives and do a lot despite the disease.”

 On being asked which class she focuses on for her campaign:

“There is no class for disease. There is little awareness overall and it is not always about awareness. Women from underprivileged classes have no accessibility to tools or medicines and doctors in hospitals. Many such women don’t even realise that they are ill even when they have more common diseases like malaria or typhoid. Poor women don’t have the money to pay for treatment; I’ve seen so many cases where cancer has reached an alarming stage and still they do nothing about it because they don’t have the means.”

On celebrities and philanthropy:

“I believe that anyone who is recognisable should contribute positively towards society. Stars, celebrities
and politicians especially have a responsibility as they can influence people. They have so many followers
who look towards them for inspiration and the right directions.

“Celebrities earn the love of their fans over the years and so it is their duty to give back to society by
engaging in some kind of social work or community development projects.”

On hosting TV shows:

Currently, Samina Peerzada can be seen hosting two exciting television shows. One is ‘Sunday Lounge’ on PTV, which she co-hosts with her husband and actor Usman Peerzada.

“On this show we celebrate people who have achieved something in life. They may be handicapped or special people but they have not allowed these factors to become a hurdle. We appreciate the efforts of such people and anyone else who has contributed to the country in pursuit of his or her dreams in any field, be it ecology, architecture or anything else.”

On a recent episode, Samina paid tribute to our national poet, Allama Iqbal and commented on how she had gradually understood and been influenced by his poetry over the years.

Samina also hosts another interesting show on Indus TVcalled ‘Baat Say Baat Samina Pirzada Kay Sath. ‘This is an issue-based talk show which covers various problems faced by the people of Pakistan in their daily life.

“In the future, I will introduce and explore more issues in-depth,” says Samina. Beyond doubt, her fans will be looking forward to it! ●