Rwandan born-choreographer and actress Sherrie Silver is continuing to blaze the trail with key milestones that have shaped her career, the latest being appointment as United Nations’ Advocate for Rural Youth.
The U.K-based actress and choreographer, still basking in the successes of Childish Gambino’s “This is America” song which she choreographed, was named a rural youth advocate by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) last week in Rome, Italy, where she shared the podium with Pope Francis and the Prime Minister of Italy.
The 24-year-old bubbly actress and dancer, whose dance skills have earned her international celebrity status, expressed her delight to be appointed to the role, stating that she has always aspired to be more than just an entertainer, but someone who can use her influence to be a voice for young people all over the world.
Accepting her appointment on February 14, Silver reiterated her connection to her country Rwanda and the African continent, despite growing up in London where she has lived since she was five, pointing out that young people in developing countries know what they need, but they’re not heard.
Silver, still reveling in big wins at the Grammy Awards and MTV Video Awards, despite Childish Gambino boycotting the Grammies, said in her acceptance speech that hailing from a background of farmers in Rwanda, agriculture is closer to her and that during her tenure she will focus on ensuring that the dreams and ambitions of young people in rural areas are supported.
“There are 1.2 billion young people across the world, 660 million of them live in rural areas and these numbers are growing. But my generation is much more likely to be unemployed than all the generations and when we do have jobs, they pay very badly and we end up among the working poor,” she said.
“Young people in the developing countries know what they need but they are not being heard. We need equal access to education, technology, land distribution, good governance and a fair economic system,” she said, adding that ‘young people are determined and have the energy’.
She was named an Advocate for rural youth during the IFAD annual meeting of member states during which she made a call-to-action to leaders and the international community to invest in rural you
“I am inviting you to come together and stand on the right side of history by investing more in resources in Agriculture and in young rural people, and the communities where they live,” Silver said in her acceptance speech, adding that rural youth are innovative and ready to take risk.
Silver is on a mission to educate the world about the African culture through the art of dance. Net.
“We need you to act now… I am challenging everyone in this room and all over the world,” she said in her speech.
She said that in different countries like Cameroon where IFAD has supported young people to start self-sustaining projects, amazing things have been achieved.
Charlotte Salford, the associate Vice-President of External Relations and Governance Department at IFAD, said that the international agency is delighted to have Silver on board, saying that she will use her talent and status to reach millions of youth.
“Dance and music are great unifiers. They help young people to express themselves and unite groups of people across cultures and countries,” she said.
Silver is IFAD’s first-ever advocate for rural youth and will champion the ‘Our future is here’ youth-led campaign which seeks to leverage on the energy and creativity of young people to increase awareness on the need to invest in agriculture to avert global hunger.
According to IFAD, an investment of $180 billion is needed to fight hunger in rural areas where it, alongside poverty, youth unemployment and forced migration continue to have an impact on populations.
Silver, who is already running her humanitarian and charity initiatives in Rwanda, Nigeria and Uganda, among other countries, will focus on ensuring that the role of the youth is prominent and recognised.
With her star continuing to rise since her major breakthrough in the movie “Africa United” in 2010, Silver says that apart from her causes and new role, she intends to make more movies but at the same time continue with her dance and choreography roles which come naturally to her since she loves to dance.
Sherrie Silver giving her acceptance speech after being appointed United Nations’ advocate for Rural Youth. Courtesy photos.
In a recent interview she intimated how she encountered skin complexes in school in the UK where she was urged to ‘lighten up a bit” because she was too dark. She turned down the suggestions and embraced her black skin and decided to stay true to her roots.
Annually she travels to Rwanda to carry out her humanitarian activities and visit friends and family. She has since become a YouTube sensation with her dance tutorials.
Commenting about the ceremony in Rome in which she accepted the advocacy role, Silver revealed that she was nervous before delivering her speech especially speaking before an audience that included different heads of state and the Pope but from the look of things, she did just great.