Scheduled to be held on November 12 in Denver, US, the event will raise funds for research on cognitive impairment. Riza is the only model from India this year at the event.
Riza Reji, a woman from Bangalore has become the first Indian with down syndrome to represent the country at an international fashion show organised by Global Down Syndrome Foundation in Denver, USA, this November.
This 23-year-old girl is currently studying theatre and movement at Chrysalis Performing Arts Centre and is thrilled to become the only individual from India to have walked the ramp at the global event organised by the North America-based NGO this year. The fashion show, “Be Beautiful, Be Yourself”, is considered the world’s largest fundraiser for Down Syndrome.
Riza’s mother is extremely proud of her daughter’s achievement. She says, “Riza had an online audition for this two months ago. Participants are judged under three categories – costume, walking style and interpersonal skills. She has always been confident and we are thrilled to learn about her selection.”
Both her parents are creative arts professionals and her mother runs an NGO called “Beautiful Together”, which works to economically empower those with special needs. “She is very excited and has been telling everybody about her achievement. Travelling to the US is exhilarating for her,” Anita added. According to her, Riza has never let her medical diagnosis come in the way of living life to the fullest.
Stating why the upcoming global event is important, Anita said, “When someone knows that their child has special needs, the first challenge is to accept their reality and then function in a society that sympathises instead of empathising. If people like my daughter get more representation, other people may take an interest in the lives of others like her, which would be helpful for their community. If one should get a chance, they must meet such individuals and interact with them as it can be life-changing.”
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- Staff Reporter