Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], July 11 (ANI): Bengaluru girl Riza Reji, who suffers from Down syndrome, has been selected for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation's 'Be Beautiful, Be Yourself' annual fashion show in Colorado, USA, set to be held on November 12.
Riza is the first Indian to participate in the show, which is held annually to raise funds for research on cognitive health problems.
The 23-year-old was selected via online audition in February, 2022 and for her costume she had opted for an Indo-Western fusion look. She impressed by showcasing her abilities in personality related questions and ramp walk. Riza has always had an inclination towards the arts. She is also a trained dancer.
In an interview with ANI, she shared that art and theatre had a profound effect on her life and thinking by helping her to express her thoughts and feelings in a better manner.
Riza also said that she is excited as well as restless with the selection for this fashion show and that she has started preparing for the show along with improving her verbal skills.
"People like me and everyone that support me to get the award and be famous," she added.
Riza's, mother Anita Rezi, co-founder of the 'Beautiful Together' institute working for the welfare of the disabled said that her daughter is verbally active and very candid about her feelings.
She does not hide herself behind her disability. My daughter is very fond of getting into the creative and artistic field and loves to mingle with people.
Riza's father, Reji Waheed, said that even now most of the welfare schemes in the country are made keeping in mind physical disabilities. Divyang people are in our own midst. These people have a great need for belonging. Every child with a disability has a hidden talent, which needs to be understood. After that these people go on their own path. There is also a need to connect differently-abled people with the mainstream of society.
He also stated that "Riza is not just one individual, she is the representative of the community, that they need to come into the limelight. They need opportunity. They get the opportunity but hardly get support. That is one reason that we want to reach out to the public as much as possible. To show that you know they should also come out and do things. They should not be kept inside their homes or in centres. You should not treat them like special, once they are treated equal then with more and more such opportunities they will do much better." (ANI)