She is beautiful, loves nature and a law graduate, but Miss Tourism Bunyoro believes positivity, self belief and confidence brings out the true positive aspects of one’s beauty.
Our reporter caught up with Ms Pearl Brenda Asasira, the Tourism Ambassador of Bunyoro region as she narrated to us her experience and lessons learnt during her Miss Tourism 2014 pageant journey. “I have always believed that nothing comes easy in life and you have to strive to achieve your dreams.”
She was among the top 5 contestants of Miss Tourism Uganda, but Pearl says to get to the top, she trained immensely all the time keeping my eyes on the prize.
Give us a brief background about yourself?
I am a university graduate from Uganda Christian University who attained a bachelor’s degree in law, and recently took part in the Miss Tourism Pageant, emerging in the top 5 finalists.
What motivated you to go for the Miss Tourism pageant?
I was motivated by feminism itself, because I am a feminist who believes every woman in society has her role to play for her country so I wanted to give tourism a humane face, because people can relate to that, I wanted to be the face of tourism in Uganda and interest people in it.
Briefly narrate to us about your journey to the top 5.
Wow, it begun when I won Miss Tourism Bunyoro region, hence automatically qualifying for nationals. We went for boot camp as 27 contestants, and 9 had to be evicted every Saturday until we were only 9 contestants left, the finalists. This kept me on my toes, and I never relaxed throughout the competition, but rather worked even harder.
We believe getting to the top wasn’t easy. So what pushed you to get there?
Positivity, self belief and confidence. I have always believed that nothing comes easy in life and you have to strive to achieve your dreams. So I read so hard, and trained immensely all the time keeping my eyes on the prize. I believe this led to my placing so far in the competition.
What qualities did they consider to join the pageant?
Several actually, for example; broad knowledge about tourism, height, moral conduct, speech and expression, grace, poise and of course confidence, this is key and a must.
What has this journey /experience taught you about life?
It has taught me to never take anything in life for granted because you can never know how far it can get you, and above all, to pray and trust in God.
Are you interested in competing next year?
I would have loved to, but I have to focus on the next step in my life, and that is working to achieve my goals and dreams.
What is your comment on the tourism sector of this country?
The tourism sector is growing at a fast rate because it is now the leading foreign exchange earner in Uganda, almost 26% of Uganda’s overall export earnings are from tourism. I wish every Ugandan can involve themselves in this sector and promote it both locally and internationally, because it begins with us to make a difference in our country.
What challenges is it facing and what should be done about it?
Tourism is facing several challenges such as negative travel advisories (e.g some people believe Idi Amin still rules Uganda and that gays are being killed in Uganda), low marketing budget, poaching in the national parks, regional instabilities, high air fares travelling to Uganda as compared to other neighboring destinations and poor infrastructure.
I believe to curb poaching, people who stay around these parks should involve themselves is in community tourism such as cultural dances and games as a way to earn income from tourism and hence avoid poaching, the government should also allocate a bigger percentage of the budget to tourism, and we too should be innovative in marketing Uganda’s wonders for example the use of cyber marketing which is cheap and finally, it is my role as a tourism ambassador to put right on the negative advisories that our country is peaceful, stable with very hospitable and friendly people.
What is your next step now that the competition is done?
I am a tourism ambassador for Bunyoro region, now I intend to fully promote tourism in Bunyoro and involve the locals to appreciate tourism and learn how to conserve and preserve nature. However, am also open to other fields of work that can benefit me and take me to greater heights in life.
You have a cancer foundation (Pearl Asasira Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation), tell us something about it?
This is a foundation I started on 25th April, 2014 dedicated to wide spread awareness of breast cancer in Uganda and the rest of the world.
As a young lady, what motivated you to start that foundation?
I have a close friend who is a breast cancer survivor, seeing the ordeal she passed through inspired me to start this foundation because of the little knowledge people have towards silent killer diseases like cancer, not to forget that on World Cancer Day, cancer was declared an epidemic. Every woman is at a risk of breast cancer, so we should be optimistic that we will fight against this disease and win because optimism is the foundation of courage.
Given exposure and support, what impact do you think this foundation can do in Uganda?
It would have an immense impact on Uganda because through that I can widely spread breast cancer awareness and save lives because early detection saves lives through sensitization of the masses especially young women who have this false belief that breast cancer only affects the old.
In your view, what should the government do better to change the situation of cancer cases, or do to fight cancer in this country?
I believe it all begins with awareness, through sensitization, the government can not only reach out to the youth in schools but also to families to take this incentive in their own hands and take regular checkups together with their children so as to make it a ritual and instill this habit in these children that can go on for future generations and lastly, publicizing the free breast cancer check up days in the different hospitals in Uganda through the use of media.