Founder, Fugeelah & Fugee School
Deborah Henry, of mixed Malaysian Irish parentage rose to fame when she was crowned Miss Malaysia World in 2007 and again, Miss Malaysia Universe in 2011. She stood out as one of the 15 semi finalists in Miss World, the highest placement a Malaysian contestant has achieved since 1998. Winning the pageants was just the beginning of the journey into becoming a humanitarian and full fledged socialpreneur that she is today.Deborah took to the runway and fashion editorials at the tender age of 15. Her modelling career took her to Hong Kong, India, London and various parts of South East Asia where she got the opportunity to work with luxury brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Ungaro. She was one of the three main hosts for Bella, a lifestyle TV programme on NTV7. She’s appeared on the covers of Elle India, Harpers Bazaar Malaysia, Marie Claire Malaysia and has been featured in Vogue India.
Aptly dubbed “Beauty with a Golden Heart”, she’s a children’s right advocate for World Vision and refugee rights advocate for UNHCR. In these roles, she has represented Malaysia on mission trips to Brazil, Myanmar, India and Lebanon. In 2013, Deborah was listed in Forbes list of Asian Philanthropists. She was recognized for her active participation in championing social causes after receiving the Golden Heart Award: Tribute to Women in Malaysia 2016 where it was presented by Her Majesty the Queen of Malaysia. In 2018, Deborah was nominated by the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia to represent the country in the prestigious International Visitor Leadership programme (IVLP) organised by the US State Department – ‘Global and Regional Responses to Refugee and Migration Issues’, in the U.S.
The University of Queensland graduate who majored in Political Science and Economics, used her opportunities wisely and has been consistently championing children, refugee rights and the marginalized. She dedicates her life to human rights advocacy and sustainable development with a long-term goal to eradicate poverty. In 2009, responding the plight of the refugees and their rights to fair and equal opportunities to education, Deborah co-founded FugeeSchool. FugeeSchool is a non-profit education hub for hundreds of refugee children in Malaysia.
It was her dream to make the school self-sustaining, and in 2017 Deborah founded Fugeelah, a social enterprise that works with refugees and marginalised Malaysian communities. Fugeelah’s goal is to provide skills training and employment opportunities for refugee youth, as well as to create a sustainable revenue stream to fund Fugee School operations.