Russian beauty contest held to increase awareness of disabilities

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Russian beauty contest held to increase awareness of disabilities

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As with any beauty pageant contestants vying for the title ‘Miss Independence’ wanted to look their best.

But as the make-up artists did their work it became clear the Moscow-held contest was a bit different.

Everyone taking part was in a wheelchair – and behind the glamour there was a message.

“We are trying to change society’s attitudes towards disabled people,” said volunteer, Olga Persyanova.

“Some people think that disabled people deserve to be pitied – well, maybe deserve is not the exact word – they think that’s their destiny. We are showing that this is far from the way it is.”

Project Director Maria added: “The contest is called ‘Miss Independence’ and I guess we want to show society that women in wheelchairs can be wonderful and beautiful.”

The event also featured a talent competition, a singing contest and even a fencing demonstration.

It was organised by a society for parents with disabilities and their families in support of Russia’s paralympic team who will be competing in next year’s Winter Games.

An estimated 13 million disabled Russians struggle against prejudice and lack of amenities – those involved in this contest hope to change all that.