More than a beauty pageant

A FORMER Mrs Uitenhage beauty queen is using her expertise to invest in the lives of matriculants who want to make a change in themselves and their community.

Lynn Liberty, head of the NPO the Liberty Foundation has set up steps to make it possible for girls to participate in the Miss Inter High Pageant. However it is not only a beauty pageant. Under the Liberty Foundation name are many projects the girls become involved in to raise funds for charities within the community and educate them on poverty in society and empowering them with the necessary life skills to overcome it.

Pupils will be taught how to conduct themselves during interviews, a wellness boot camp where they will be addressed by successful people in their field of work, motivational courses and photo shoots in a bid to build confidence and boost self esteem. They will then take these skills and share it with the community during charity drives.

A beauty pageant was chosen as the highlight of the youth project because it is strongly supported by the community and it gives girls the opportunity to display their new found confidence as well as enjoy the fun of dressing up and being a proud ambassador of their school.

Schools involved include Mary Mount, Despatch, Gamble Street, McCarthy, Uitenhage High, Strelitzia High, Limekhaya and Riebeek high schools.

Gamble Street High School pupil Rizana Savahl, 18, said it was a "huge privilege" to be a part of the initiative and she was honoured to represent her school.

"I feel honoured and truly privileged to represent my school seeing that it has plenty of pupils with different backgrounds.

"It made me realise that I should step out and make a difference in my school and community," she said.

"We have approached the Department of Education to become involved so that the youth awareness programme can be added to schools event calendars. The night is the end results of weeks of hard work from each girl, I just want these pupils to feel beautiful and most importantly confident when they approach the challenges the world has to offer." Liberty said.

"Bringing all these schools under one roof creates solidarity among diverse groups. By doing this we cannot change the world but we can try to change the mind set of our youth." - Chanice Koopman