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Autistic children need a specialized school, says Miss Seychelles contestant Juanita Porrice

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Miss Seychelles Contestant 10: Juanita Porrice. (Michel Toule-Thilatier/Miss Seychelles – National Pageant-Facebook)

Increased awareness in Seychelles in recent years has helped shed light on autism — a disorder that sometimes leads to children acting out in an uncontrollable manner. One Miss Seychelles contestant, Juanita Porrice,is looking further than just the knowledge and acceptance of such a disorder in this island nation.

“I am working with the Seychelles Autism Association to campaign for the setting up of a specialized school that deals with autistic children,” Porrice said to SNA.

Currently most autistic children in Seychelles attend normal school while others study at the School for the Exceptional Child.

Porrice believes the pageant is the perfect platform to promote her cause through her beauty with a purpose project titled ‘Handling Children with Autism.’

Her awareness of the special needs of children suffering from autism comes from seeing the child of a neighbour who has been diagnosed with the condition.

Porrice is competing against 11 other aspiring beauty queens who are all vying for the coveted crown and a chance to see their community fulfillment project come to life. Saturday is the crowning night of the 2016 Miss Seychelles Another World.

Taking part in the beauty contest, which the 18-year-old has described as an ‘incredible experience’ has resulted in bringing out her hidden qualities.

“I used to be very timid. Now I have more self-confidence thanks to the sessions on how to answer questions. This has really helped me to overcome my timidity,” said Porrice.

When launching the pageant in March, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Chief Executive Sherin Naiken said it was not an easy task this year. She said some young ladies are reluctant to participate because of negative remarks on social media about the contestants.

Porrice told SNA that all 12 young women who have taken the challenge this year are in high spirit and have developed a strong bond of friendship during their months of preparation.

“I knew some of the girls even before they auditioned so once we all came together we developed that sisterhood instantly.’

A resident of Anse Louis on the western side of the main island, Mahé, Porrice is currently studying wellness and spa at the Seychelles Tourism Academy.

She shared some final thoughts on the Miss Seychelles title as the grand finale draws near: “In any competition there will always be a winner and a loser, but for this pageant I think we are all winners.”

Source : Seychelles News Agency

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