The tsunami that hit South Asia in December of 2004 claimed more than 230,000 lives and affected 12 countries. Before that, Petra Nemcova was known as one of the world's top models. She was vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami hit, and barely survived. Since then, she has become heavily involved in charity work to help children, around the world, who have suffered loss and devastation.
"The whole experience of the tsunami was a very hard experience,” Nemcova said, “and not just for me, but for millions of people, because millions of people have been affected and especially in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka and Thailand."
|Nearly a quarter million people died during the tsunami|
The model recently visited a Washington jewelry store to raise money for her charity. She was promoting a new "love" bracelet. Jeweler and watchmaker Cartier is donating 100-dollars to Petra's Happy Hearts Fund for each 500-dollar bracelet sold.
Cartier Boutique Manager Fariba Jaahanbani explains why Nemcova was chosen as the spokeswoman. Jaahanbani said, "She portrays the true meaning of love, commitment and passion."
Nemcova started Happy Hearts a year ago, and is thrilled to see it is making a difference. She said, "In less than a year, we have raised more than $1.5 million, and supported 13 local charity projects in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand. And we're growing so much. I just came back from Pakistan, from the earthquake zone and other places. From a little thing, it's been growing and I can't say thank you enough to everyone who's been supporting Happy Hearts Fund, and so many wonderful people came aboard and donated time."
Petra Nemcova has released a personal memoir detailing her tsunami experience called "Love Always, Petra." She plans to travel to the tsunami-affected areas of South Asia later this year.