A psychology student from Belarus was crowned Miss Wheelchair World in the first-ever worldwide pageant for wheelchair-bound contestants.
Twenty-three-year-old Aleksandra Chichikova was crowned Miss Wheelchair World while Lebohang Monyatsi of South Africa was named a runner-up.
The pageant, which was held in Warsaw, Poland, was an expansion of the Miss Wheelchair Poland pageant, which had been held for four years. Contestants included 24 women from 19 different countries. The event was organized by The Only One Foundation, which seeks to break down barriers limiting people with disabilities.
According to the organization’s website, the foundation’s goal is to change the image of and attitudes about women in wheelchairs and emphasize their beauty. They stress that a wheelchair is not an impossible-to-overcome restraint but an addition to a disabled person’s personality.
The group also strives to integrate communities around the world and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
At a celebration gala, Chichikova urged people to fight their anxiety and their fears, PAPER reported.
“I am convinced my life can illustrate that a person may be successful, strong, purpose-driven, beautiful and attractive regardless of how he moves, Chichikov said. ‘I really enjoy watching people change their mind and attitude towards disabled people. They start to see an equal person, not someone with a disability.”
Judges included journalists and representatives of the Warsaw City Council.
Among the competitors were women representing the United States, Angola, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Guatemala, India, Italy, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine.
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