Beauty pageant for women with disabilities seeks support

• By Rosalia David

Apageant initiated for people living with disabilities, ‘Miss ability’ is seeking funds to host an event slated for August.

The founder of the annual modelling competition, Eva Josaphat, said funding continues to hinder the initiative which is one of a kind and accommodates some of the most vulnerable members of society. 

“Without funds, running logistics can’t be smooth. Secondly, running an event of this kind, involving a sensitive perspective, is the hardest. We have to prove ourselves, we have to do things differently from the able bodied events; and we are dealing with people who are not any different but with special needs. Disability is a very sensitive matter which needs special care,” she said.

Miss ability was first held in 2018, at the Oshakati Multi-Purpose Centre!

Juliana Samuels, a young woman who is visually impaired was crowned as the winner.

Josaphat said the idea came about after realising that there are many beautiful women with disabilities who lack opportunities.

“In my role as a board member for the Oshana Paralympic Team, there were so many beautiful women para-athletes and then I dedicated myself into turning them into beauty queens.”

I took it upon myself to give it a try back in the year of 2018, by making a mental analysis that evoked the question that if Meriam Kaxuxwena, an able bodied lady, can be a successful beauty queen, then a disabled model for example Johanna Benson can make it too,” she added.

She further explained that what necessitated the pageant was a need to build self-esteem amongst people living with disabilities. 

Josaphat said the platform promotes and represents the beauty and abilities of people with disabilities while advocating for the rights of all people.

“This is more about encouraging them to embrace their beauty without fear. I also grew up around disabled people in Oshakati State House (Klein Angola)”, Josephat.

“My mother worked there and was accommodated as an employee, she inspired my passion through her involvement in catering for people with disabilities”.

For that I will be forever grateful!

Back then, I was a lone organizer but since we have grown into a big project with five organizers,” she added.

Rapper lioness is the current face of Miss Ability Namibia while Michael Amukwaya, (Secretary of Paralympic) and Sovita Joshua (Artist and a woman with Albinism) are the Brand Ambassadors.

Although the competition continues to struggle to secure funding, she said it has since its inception received support from corporate companies such as Coca-Cola Namibia, NWR, Vida and various media houses.

One of the sponsors for the event Meduletu Mulokoshi from Letu media group said the company jumped on board as a way of instilling hope in persons with disabilities.

“We sponsored the last winner and two finalists with crowns, provided media coverage and also handled the budget of the MC,” he said.

There are currently 10 entrants and Josephat encourages more participants to come forth and apply and be part of this prestigious event.

“We are looking forward to more finalists”. 

Our target for this year is 15 finalists.