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Disabled models walk catwalk at fashion show

models at the Strong and Beautiful Together fashion show
models at the Strong and Beautiful Together fashion show

A fashion event held in Abidan turned a few heads earlier this month showcasing new designs modelled by people with disabilities.

One of the models who took part in the “Strong and Beautiful Together” show was Grace Beho who had her right forearm amputated following a road accident.

In the summer she launched the Mougnan Foundation to support disabled Ivorian women, the name translates to the term “moving forward despite difficulties” in the Guere language of western Ivory Coast.

“I think that the women who are going to be watching us and who do not yet have confidence in themselves… are going to assert themselves and show themselves to the world as they are,” Beho said after walking off the stage.

Nelly Aka was the MC for the event wearing high heels, a bold statement for her foot disability.

She told Fashion United: “Even in a situation of disability, we can go beyond ourselves and do many things.

“Overcoming disability is about accepting yourself – the way people look at you and criticise you will not affect who you are.”

The fashion show also saw Leslie Antsere, who has neurofibromatosis, and a model called Sylvia strutting their stuff proudly down the catwalk.

Commenting on the lack of inclusivity in the fashion industry when it comes to disability organiser Ange Prisca Gnagbo said: “Even mentioning a disabled person in the world of beauty is taboo in Ivory Coast.

“They are sidelined in all the beauty shows.”

The Ivory Coast is home to the world’s biggest church, The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro which has an exterior area of 30,000 square metres.