Magnificent contestants off to Las Vegas

Back, from left, are Joy Alexander, 22, from Eastridge, and Bahia Janodien, from Lentegeur. In front are Ilhaam Karriem, 19, from Bonteheuwel, Priantha Williams, 21, from Rocklands, Maxine Persence, 20, from Bonteheuwel, Mishka Karriem, 23, from Colorado Park, and Kaylin Trico, from Lentegeur.

An inaugural international pageant winner, from Lentegeur, will be flying with six disabled Western Cape youth and two from Johannesburg to a competition in Las Vegas later this month.

The competition embraces the strength of character, ambitions and accomplishments of each contestant, giving them the opportunity to put the difficulties and obstacles of their everyday existence, aside and dream big.

Shumeez Scott, 20, was crowned Miss Magnificent Woman Icon Phenomenal international pageant winner in 2018, and has since hosted pageants across the province and in Johannesburg to raise awareness about the pageant and what it does for youth with disabilities.

Ms Scott was born with Down’s syndrome.

Her mother Bahia Janodien, managing director of the Shumeez Scott Foundation, said it is all about breaking the stigma of hiding people with disabilities and equipping them with skills to have their say in this world.

Magnificent Women and Men Icons (MWI/MMI) International finalists from the Western Cape – Nabeel Oostendorp, 24, from Bonteheuwel; Esmérelda Haremse, 18, from Parklands; Taariq Martin, 19, from Bonteheuwel; Lee-Lynn Watson, 25, from Paarl; Wedaad Kariem, 24, from Rondebosch; and Nazreen Davids, 21, from Rugby – have to be in Las Vegas from Sunday March 29 until Sunday April 5.

Ms Kariem’s mother Fareeda said it was a once in a life opportunity, for her daughter, whom she would accompany to the States.

Nabeel’s mom Fatima Oostendorp said it would be their first overseas trip and that she was grateful to be sharing the experience with the disabled youth.

Emmerentia Arendse said she had to talk to her daughter Esmérelda, who is autistic, a lot, to calm her and prepare her for the 39-hour trip, which will include three flights.

Rosalind Kouadio said while she was not looking forward to the flights, her daughter Lee-Lynn was excited. Each contestant needs an outfit for the various categories, including denim and diamond, their nationality, casual, semi and formal attire. They will be interviewed, attend photoshoots, visit a hospital, rehearsals and strut their stuff on the runway.

Yusuf Davids said just being involved with the foundation and the trip had helped his daughter Nazreen be more self-sufficient, built her confidence and exposed her to many things.

“They can discover new things, like social skills, meet different cultures, nationalities and it is wonderful that she is representing her country.

“Winning is not important. Her having this experience is more important,” she said.

Each of the participants has to raise close to R70 000, for themselves and a family member to accompany them to the non-profit pageant created for young adults with special needs and challenges.

For more information and to make financial contributions call or text Ms Janodien on 071 443 6014.

The Shumeez Scott Foundation will be having its annual general meeting (AGM) at Muslim Assembly (Cape) Educare, in Lodewyk Road Newfields, on Sunday March 15, from 2pm until 5pm.

For more information call or text Ms Janodien on 071 443 6014.

Precious Gems will be hosting a fund-raiser to raise awareness about Down’s syndrome at Westridge Gardens on Saturday March 7, from 9am until 6pm. Entry is free. They will have stalls, live entertainment, showcase local talent and models, host a car show and guest speakers.

To book a stall and more information call 082 575 6129 or visit www.preciousgems.org.za