Two young Tibetan women from Nepal will sashay down the ramp during the Miss Tibet pageant here to highlight the plight of the Nepalis after a strong quake hit the Himalayan nation in April.
Two of the three contestants for the Miss Tibet Pageant 2015 are from Nepal.
"I was in Kathmandu just for a few days last week. It was really terrible to see the plight of the quake-hit people," Lobsang Kyizom, 21, from Kathmandu, told IANS on Saturday.
She is here for the 13th edition of the pageant that will be held on Sunday at McLeodganj near Dharamsala, home to the Tibetan government-in-exile.
"The people in Nepal are yet to come out of the trauma. They still need help not only to rebuild their houses but also to rebuild their lives," Kyizom, a recent graduate in journalism from an institute in Bengaluru, said. Her parents are settled in Kathmandu.
Another contestant Tsering Dolma, 23, is from Pokhara in Nepal.
"Through the ramp I want to highlight the cause of millions of homeless in Nepal," said Dolma, who is doing post-graduation in nursing from Mangalore.
The third contestant Pema Choedon, 24, from Dehradun in Uttarakhand, wants to become the role model for the young generation of Tibetans.
"It is not only a platform to empower women, especially the Tibetans, but also to showcase self," she said.
Choedon did her post-graduation in English (honours) from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and is planning to pursue a doctorate.
Lobsang Wangyal, the event’s director-producer, told IANS that as there are only three contestants, there would be five rounds of competition — talk, talent, gown, costume and interview — instead of seven.
He said all the three participants are novices to the pageant.
The winner of the Miss Tibet Pageant will receive Rs.100,000 (approximately $1,600). The first and second runner-up will receive Rs.50,000 and Rs.25,000, respectively.
Last year, only one model, Tenzin Yangzom from Sikkim, participated in the Miss Tibet contest that started in 2002 amid a mixed response from the exiles.
Many opposed the pageant, saying it does not adhere to the principles of the Tibetan culture.
Even the Tibetan government-in-exile, based in this hill town, has condemned the pageant, saying it is not part of their tradition.
In 2011, the pageant saw the highest number of six participants.
Over 150,000 Tibetans live in exile, a majority of them in India and Nepal.
According to the UN, there are 20,000 Tibetan refugees living in Nepal, mainly in the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara in western Nepal, with an additional 1,500 Tibetans living in "refugee-like situations".