MANY of us may see pageantry as a beauty contest among women for the ultimate opportunity to be crowned a queen. While this may be true for some, Abeena Gomes and Gabriella Chapman are using their platform quite differently.

Both women are candidates in Miss World Guyana 2020, but after realising that their purposes are aligned, they’ve decided to collaborate on an empowerment camp for young women.

Gomes, a 21-year-old who hails from Wakenaam, founded her organisation last year, the ‘Shine Your Light Initiative’, which aims to give youths the tools they need to ignite their inner light.

This she does by conducting interactive sessions focused on the pillars of personal development: Mind, Body and Spirit. Even though this was created before her entry in Miss World Guyana, Gomes is staying true to her purpose and has taken it into the pageant.

Chapman, who’s 24 and hails from Bartica, founded her organisation in 2017, The Girl Build Girl Foundation, which is a nonprofit organisation providing programmes for girls between the ages of 14-25 that will foster self-confidence, promote social relationships, strong interpersonal skills and reassert a sense of hope in the future. Like Gomes, Chapman entered the pageant with her already established organisation.

Together, the two forces are hosting a one- day empowerment camp on Sunday at the National School of Music dubbed ‘Grow and Glow’.

The young women told ‘The Buzz’ that this initiative is geared towards helping young women find their identity, boost their self-worth, and develop a thriving mindset for them to cope through their individual lives, hence the name ‘Grow and Glow’.

There are four focus areas for the camp: Undertaking the journey of self-discovery, which will be facilitated by the brothers, Dr. Allister and Dr. Astell Collins; Self leadership, which will be facilitated by Ayana McCalman; Body Positivity being facilitated by Deondra Wishart; and Mental Health and Addiction, by Philip Drayton.

The camp is expected to be attended by over 150 girls between the ages of 14-25, and last four-and-a-half hours, starting from 13:00hrs.

Given that the venue can only accommodate 150 persons, the girls said they were forced to close registration because 158 girls signed up Online to attend.

However, they did mention that this collaboration is the birth of an endless partnership between the two young women, who will continuously seek ways in which to host other activities to continue impacting lives.
When asked about how they feel as friends and competing against each other, the queens said that the bigger picture for them is not the crown, but rather the impact they can make on the world.

In their message to other young women, they spoke to ending competitions between women and girls and ending girl-on-girl hate. Instead, they are urging girls to establish bonds and collaborations, and work together to make a difference in each other’s lives, and by extension make a difference in the world