It is a beauty pageant with a difference. 
The participants are not limited by age or, for that matter, their marital status and they are doing it for a cause.
Called ‘Miss Kabayan Kapit Bisig (KKB) 2013’, the unique event is being organised by a group of Filipino housemaids  in which the contestants are domestic helpers themselves.
But the purpose of the pageant does not end with just crowning a beauty, as the proceeds will be used to help distressed women who seek assistance from the Philippine Labour Office in order to buy tickets to return to their homeland.
The beauty contest, for which the housemaids have been preparing for over six months, will take place on May 10 in Deira.
“We want to help distressed women, many of whom are maids who want to go back. Funds raised from the event will be used to buy tickets for them. About 70 maids will participate and will be judged on the basis of their beauty, intelligence as well as work,” said Zussie, leader of the Kabayan Kabit Bisig.
Day-long preparations for ‘Miss Kabayan Kapit Bisig 2013’ have been taking place every Friday, with the contestants rehearsing catwalks, question-answer routines and others aspects of the contest including confidence-boosting exercises.
“If you come across a Filipina housemaid, you would be quick to notice that they feel they are lower than everyone else around them.
“They feel their work is not something that they can be proud of and usually have low confidence. In the months through the preparation, the members have emerged confident and the contest will play a good role in boosting their morale,” said Jaja, one of the judges for the contest.
The members have also been selling raffle tickets and inviting people to their show. “Their work confines them to home most of the day. It has been a challenge for them to sell the tickets, yet they have put in a lot of hard work to sell them,” added Zussie.
For the contestants, the rehearsals have been a learning as well as fun experience with each helping the other.
The pageant day will see the participants walk the ramp in sportswear, gowns and get awarded for congeniality and best catwalk, among other prizes.
By Shveta Pathak
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