Empowering and equipping Mauritian women with essential tools that will allow them to shine and become the leaders of tomorrow: This was the aim of a two-day training, hosted by Le Défi Training School, which the fifteen contestants of the Miss Universe Mauritius pageant competition had the chance to follow on 7th and 8th September.
They are fifteen beautiful, intelligent and bold young women aged between 18 and 27 who are competing for the crown of Miss Universe Mauritius, organized by Estrella Mauritius. The contestants of the pageant competition had the opportunity to follow a two-day workshop at Le Défi Training School on the themes ‘We Empower’ and ‘Public Speaking’.
The beauty queens were imparted with key skills and tools that are significant to making them gain more self-confidence, to speak their minds and make their voices heard. On Saturday 7th September, the first workshop focused on the theme ‘Women Empowerment’ and was animated by Georgina Ragaven and Anuradha Nunkoo from the NGO We Empower.
“We were approached by the Organizing Committee of Miss Universe Pageant to help in the training of the participants. We met to agree on our philosophies for such an event, which is mainly the power within, beauty of the soul with values that can help the participants to grow with self-confidence and be role models, irrespective whether they wear the crown or not,” explained the trainers, who covered different modules during the workshop, among which was gender equality.
During the enriching experience, where there were lots of sharing and networking, the fifteen Mauritian beauties also acquired public speaking skills. On Sunday 8th September, the workshop focused on ‘Public Speaking’, which was hosted by Atish Bogolah, public speaking expert. “The idea of this workshop was, first and foremost, to provide them with the tools they needed to express themselves with confidence and to deal with impromptu questions. We provided them with tips and techniques to face an audience, and worked on their voice intonation that reflects both their personality and that captivates the attention of the audience,” explained Atish Bogolah.
Le Défi Training School, on its side, seized the occasion to launch its new logo. Set up since 2006, this training school’s aim is to continue supporting personal and professional developments. Le Défi Training School, which can accommodate up to 25 persons, in fact plans to partner with other institutions and professionals to provide technical and practical training. It will also offer internships for those wishing to follow a career in the media and communication sector.
The Miss Universe Mauritius competition is reserved for Mauritian women aged 18 to 27. It is not a competition that focuses on physical appearance and beauty. The grand finale of the 32nd edition of the contest will be held on 17th September at the Caudan Arts Center in Port Louis.
During the workshops, the young ladies shared with News on Sunday their aspirations, their views on beauty pageants, the importance of training,
Vandana Jeetah (Miss Flacq) : “Youths should be encouraged to do politics”
Holder of an LLB and currently doing her pupilage, Vandana uttered that Mauritian politics needs a transformation. “I believe that we are in great need of new and young politicians who have fresh ideas. However, we do not have the necessary framework that will allow the young to form their political party and have the public’s support. Many are thirsty for a change and I trust it is high time to change people’s mindset.”
Samanta Luchoo (Miss Curepipe) : “I want to become the voice of the unheard”
Aiming to become a Software Engineer, the young woman shared that her participation in the competition was to challenge herself. “I decided to take part in the pageant, as it is a big platform which allows me to blossom as well as to help me identify my shortcomings.” Samantha stated that she expects this contest to help her become the voice of the unheard. “We do not do enough to learn about what is happening outside. I want to become a spokesperson for those who need a voice.”
Naina Runnoo (Miss Bel-Air) : “I want to be a winner on various levels”
The mechanical engineer shared that she was motivated to participate in the contest to make the public know that there is more than just physical beauty behind each women. “A beauty pageant competition is more than just putting forward a woman’s good looks. Actually, women learn to grow and become more empowered. I aim to break the many stereotypes regarding women.” What does she expect to gain from the competition? “My objective is to be a winner on various levels, namely win friends, develop personal and emotional growth, gain more self-confidence to speak publicly and in terms of empowerment,” stated Naina.
Elizabeth Hypolite (Miss Rodrigues) : “An enriching experience”
The contestant from Rodrigues, aged 18, was motivated to participate in the Miss Universe Mauritius competition in order to give more value to island women. “I also wanted to bring my personal Rodriguan touch to the competition and show that all women are capable of great things.” Elizabeth states that our society should provide more support and care to people with disabilities. “We have seen during the Indian Ocean Island Games how disabled people also have the capacities to win gold medals. We should do more for these people.”
Ganishta Ramdooharika (Miss Phoenix) : “I want to acquire more skills”
Ganishta aims to become a Flight Attendant and she has recently completed her IATA courses. She uttered that it was a dream come true for her to participate in the Miss Universe Mauritius contest. “I was a very shy person and was always afraid to speak to strangers. My participation in this competition has allowed me to gain more confidence to speak up. The training has helped me to become a different and more independent woman.” She shared that she looks forward to acquiring more skills.
Ornella Laflèche (Miss Beau Bassin/Rose Hill) : “I have been empowered through the training”
Aged 21, Ornella is currently studying Marketing Management. She confided that she flet empowered following the two-day training. “It was a golden opportunity for us, young Mauritian women, to become empowered. I believe that empowering women is significant in today’s world. Girls grow up in patriarchal societies that traps them in traditional roles. Young women need to learn that they can reach far beyond prescribed societal roles.” Ornella trusts that such trainings should form part of our education system that will benefit both girls and boys.
Jennifer Seblin (Miss Moka) : “I have learned to love myself”
Aged 28, Jennifer, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with specialisation in International Relations, said that the two-day workshop has helped all contestants to face and overcome their shortcomings. “It is definitely not easy to learn to love ourselves and who we truly are. We have a tendency to believe what others say about us and not really value ourselves. People have perceived my figure as unfit to participate in a beauty pageant. We are all different but beautiful in our own ways and we should respect those differences,” she stated.
Thriya Hemraz (Miss Quartier Militaire) : “I have gained more self-confidence”
Holder of a degree in Economics and International Relations and currently studying for a Post Graduate Certification in Education, Thriya shared that she has gained more self-assurance through the workshops. “Following the training, I felt more confident about myself and my views. I had negative perspectives regarding my participation in the pageant but now, I have been able to overcome them. The training has definitely helped me to become a better version of myself.” Aged 23, Thriya stated that the training will also help her in her professional life, as she aims to become an educator.
Urvashi Haurheeram (Miss Péreybère) : “A Miss should be bold and strong”
Working as a Corporate and Trust Administrator in an offshore company, Urvashi practices Muay Thai and Kickboxing. She trusts that a Miss should have a strong character but at the same time, a soft one. “She must be humble and have the capacity to uplift, empower and help other women. She should be bold in order to face the public and the critics. She must have a strong character which will help her gain people’s respect. She must definitely be mentally strong to be able to handle all challenges. I trust that a Miss should be someone who leads a healthy lifestyle.”
Diksha Toolsee (Miss Mahébourg) : “She needs to be genuine”
What are the qualities one should have to become a Miss? For the 23-year-old lady, one should be kind. “The elected Miss should embody kindness and possess a beautiful mind. She needs to be a genuine person and true to herself and not impress by her good looks only. It is important for people to feel at ease. I trust that friendliness is a must,” uttered Diksha, who has recently earned her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a Minor Degree in Management.
Cheasta Ramdhooneea (Miss Port Louis) : “Being a role model is a must”
Aged 22, Cheasta is a BSc (Hons) Accounting with Finance student. She trusts that a Miss should definitely not be someone arrogant. “She must be simple and sweet, always have a smile so as to make others feel they can easily open up to her. She must also have a big heart and always willing to help the needy. Most importantly a Miss should be a role model so that she can also help in changing the image and mindsets people have and break stereotypes about women in the society.”
Jade Ishana Motee (Miss Grand-Baie) : “Politics should take up ecological issues”
Animal lover, Jade holds a degree in Tourism and is responsible of a customer service team. “I would encourage all young people who wish to join politics to do it. In order to encourage the youth, I trust that we should portray a different picture of what politics is really, rather than being something dirty and bad. It is in fact a good tool to uplift the life of others.” Jade also trusts that the politics should focus more on ecology and protection of the environment.
Angellie Gérard (Miss Rivière du Rempart) : “NGOs should benefit from more support”
Commenting on the political sky in Mauritius, Angellie trusts that the government should provide more to the NGOs. “NGOs are often left to themselves and most of the time lack funds to complete their projects or meet up with the targets. People working in NGOs are often discouraged to work, as they do not get the same or not enough benefits than those working in public sector. There should also be more severe laws that would force private employers to pay their employees the salary they deserve,” stated the 25-year-old participant.
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