The second annual Miss Landmine beauty pageant, a controversial event that debuted in Angola last year, will open in Cambodia next month, with organisers saying they hope the event will raise awareness about the continuing risk of land mines around the globe.
"I believe it is a good way of looking at things in a new and different way ... [to see] these women as strong, glamorous and beautiful," said Norwegian artist Morten Traavik, who organised the first Miss Landmine pageant. "It will make a contribution to how the rest of society will look at them ... Society will feel that these women can do anything."
The contest, which has support from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, the Ministry of Women's Affairs, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre and the Cambodian Disabled People's Organisation, has been designed to highlight the difficulties faced by female land mine victims. A total of 21 contestants representing all provinces except Ratanakkiri, Koh Kong and Kratie are set to participate in the contest. The contestants will launch a photo exhibition and a fashion magazine that uses land mine survivors as models at Meta House on August 7, and the public will be able to vote for the winner on the project's Web site (www.miss-landmine.org) beginning on August 1.