Tears of joy as Down syndrome girl wins national pageant

The official crowning of Down syndrome teenager Shumeez Scott as national Ms DS Ribbons4Roses SA 2017 unfolded amid tears of joy from family, friends and supporters at the pageant at Villa Vissagio-De la Paix winelands estate in Klapmuts on Saturday night.“The whole crowd of about 100 people were in tears when Shumeez came up to be crowned,” said the shy girl’s mother, Bahia Janodien.

“There was no dry eye. People’s hearts opened and even now when I think about the night, I just cry.

“She looked pretty with her crown. The night was phenomenal and a lifetime achievement for her and our family, because we are trying to get Shumeez to live a normal life and to be part of society and the community.”

Non-profit organisation DS Ribbons4Roses SA chief executive Ampie Fourie crowned Shumeez.

Earlier, on her birthday on November 30, judges had assessed Shumeez’s photogenicity, her life story, dreams and character during her participation in the event, and chose her over her fellow contestants as the pageant’s winner.

During the November 30 pageant, Shumeez had also won the inaugural Miss MWI Phenomenal 2018/2019 international pageant, for which she will be crowned in Mumbai, India.

Janodien said: “She will be the first ever Down syndrome girl to receive the Miss MWI Phenomenal 2018/2019 pageant title. For me it’s about creating awareness about Down syndrome.

We want them to have a (productive life) and to achieve things.”

Shumeez said: “I feel proud of myself and I’m happy. I’m also excited about going to India and I will bring the crown home to make the people (of South Africa) feel proud.

“I must stand up for Down syndrome and I want to thank everyone who supported me and stood by my side.”

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