A Lentegeur national multi-beauty pageant winner with Down syndrome (DS) has made the circle bigger by creating a platform for youth with disabilities to strut their stuff on the runway.
Shumeez Scott, 18, and her family launched the Shumeez Scott Foundation in April this year.
The foundation aims to empower youth with DS and autism spectrum disorder.
They hosted a fashion show fund-raiser at the Athlone civic centre on Sunday November 4.
DS is the most common and naturally occurring chromosomal genetic condition and is the largest single cause of intellectual disabilities.
Later this month Shumeez, the Miss Magnificent Women International: Phenomenal Women in South Africa, is due to jet off to Mumbai, India, in the hope of being crowned with the international title.
Last year, Shumeez also clinched the national Miss DS Ribbons4Roses SA 2017 pageant as well as the inaugural Miss MWI Phenomenal 2018/19.
Her mother Bahia Janodien told the Plainsman, Shumeez dreams of opening her own business centre.
“She wants to teach modelling, to develop and extend into the beauty salon where children with different disabilities can grow their skills and contribute to the beauty industry,” she said.
Ms Janodien said funds raised at the fashion show would contribute to opening the centre.
She said the centre would also raise awareness and said that the runway is not just for “ordinary” models but that those with special needs can be part of the industry too.
“The show proved that they are more than capable of doing what an ordinary or should I say a professional model can do,” said Ms Janodien.
Shumeez’s sister Zhuqeelah, 22, told the Plainsman that her sister is treated like any other person in the family.
“If need be, she will stand at the stove and stir a pot of oats, if that is what is needed,” she said.
Zhuqeelah said her sister is not treated like someone who is disabled.
“We are there to support each other,” she said.
She said the fashion show was an eye-opener, as the participants were all differently abled, and some needed help to get dressed or to walk.
According to the provincial Department of Health’s website, people with DS have mild to moderate intellectual impairment; it is not related to age, race, religion or socio-economic situations; children with DS can be included in regular schools with regular academic programmes; and although DS cannot be cured, people with this condition thrive in loving homes, with appropriate medical care, early intervention, as well as educational and vocational services.
For more information about the foundation, email Ms Janodien on firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about DS call the Down Syndrome Association, Western Cape, on 021 919 8533, email email@example.com or visit www.downwc.co.za