Ten young women have been shortlisted for the Miss India Guyana 2018 pageant from a list of 35 applicants from across the three counties of Guyana. The Scene offers a first look at the contestants: Umilla Ganpat, Maya Persaud, Farisha Razak, Oma Devi Singh, Shoshanna Ramdeen, Bibi Saudia Safik, Truvanie Persaud, Dhanita Walter, Bibi Sherina Mohamed and Surujdai Mukhram.
Nineteen-year-old Umilla Ganpat hails from the ancient county of Berbice where she spent her early childhood before moving to live at Friendship, East Bank Demerara. Although Umilla completed a Diploma in Garment Construction at the Carnegie School of Home Economics she went on to pursue a career in food; she has a small catering business called Chrissy’s Cakes and also decorates for weddings.
At such a young age she is quite accomplished already which may have stemmed from a fateful event in her life. “I enjoyed spending quality time with my family, friends and other relatives as they almost lost me in a tragic accident. The experience has taught me to always be thankful to God for spared life, health and strength. I have also learned to take life seriously and live each day fulfilled and to the best of my abilities. My goal in life is to help the less fortunate especially children who are unable to reach their full potential due to financial constraints, ”Umilla said.
She enjoys attending mandir, singing, dancing, sewing, fishing, and cooking. Umilla describes herself as a country girl at heart who enjoys the simple pleasures of life.
Confident, ambitious and artistic are the adjectives 24-year-old Maya Persaud chose to describe herself. She comes from the lively village of Soesdyke. Maya, who along with four other siblings was raised by a strong single mom said life has not always been an easy road and this has motivated her to help those who may today be suffering from their own demons. “In life, I have had many dark days but I’ve never let that bring me down. Instead those days have made me into the strong woman I am today. This has led to my passion for bringing active awareness to … depression and mental health. Too many persons are still suffering in silence and I want them to know tomorrow is always a brighter day provided you reach out and let someone know what you are going through,” she shared.
Maya who currently works as a cashier says her job cannot suffice for her dreams of being a role model and motivator. However, the Miss India Guyana Pageant is making this dream a reality and should she have the blessed opportunity of winning not just the local title but the Miss India Worldwide as well then this shall surely be a dream come true not just for her but her mother as well. Such an opportunity, she further said, will give her an even bigger platform to reach countless persons.
She grew up in the mandir singing bhajans and her biggest achievement in this was when she was chosen as one of the contestants on E-Networks Emerging Voice. The only other thing she enjoys more than this is spending time with her family and friends.
Farisha Razak is an 18-year-old beauty who hails from Diamond, East Bank Demerara. She is an accomplished dance coach at her high school and is currently in pursuit of her General Education Diploma (GED). It is Farisha’s fervent hope to someday live her dreams of a flight attendant as she has a passion for exploring countries and their cultures. She wants to learn four foreign languages which she knows will aid in this profession. Added to this she wishes to become a seasonal model also.
At present she assist her parents with their hollow block business. For hobbies she likes to dance, sing, play sports and spend time with her two younger brothers.
As a Guyanese of Indian descent, her focus is to educate and contribute towards the maintenance of the traditional customs and rich culture.
Oma Devi Singh, a resident of Herstelling, East Bank Demerara and former student of Central High School excelled at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination with distinction and grades one and two passes in 12 subjects. The 23-year-old also holds a Diploma in Business Management and currently works at the Guyana Revenue Authority. She has always been fond of dancing while growing up and since joining the Ishara Dance Troupe she has become the lead dancer and has performed at numerous events locally and internationally. Through Ishara Oma has participated in countless charity events, including the Nirvana Society which facilitates concerts and feeding programmes for children and elders among many other mandir fundraisers.
Her passion for pageantry came about after recognizing pageants are more than a stage and a crown, she loves that they are involved in charitable ventures. Oma’s motivation comes from her own desire to be an asset to society throughout her professional, personal and social life.
Oma is determined to walk away as this year’s Miss India Guyana and Miss India Worldwide.
Shoshanna Ramdeen’s natural talent, involvement in community service, strong faith, and humility make her a true embodiment of a rounded young woman.
An avid reader, this 22-year-old draws much of her inspiration from writers who convey real experiences by presenting true accounts of their challenges, and reveal how they overcame them. She believes that one is not necessarily born with courage, but rather, one is born with potential. A former Zeeburg Secondary student she describes herself as a selfless, driven and committed individual. Currently, Shoshanna is a third-year medical student at Greenheart Medical University. In her spare time when she is not home with her family at their Tuschen home she loves to dance, socialize with friends and volunteer at NGOs.
At five feet ten inches Bibi Saudia Safik, a 20-year-old, is employed at the West Demerara Regional Hospital as an Accounts Clerk and is enrolled as an Associates of Business Executives (ABE) student at the Nations University.
She embraces the philosophy of belief in oneself. “Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be happy or successful,” she says. Her greatest belief is that nothing comes easy in life, but if you believe in yourself then anything is possible.
Saudia hails from Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo. Her leisure time finds her singing Indian songs, socializing and travelling. In five years, Saudia, who considers herself as a woman of essence, sees herself as a manager or CEO of a reputable company while doing everything in her capabilities to be a role model to young people and to ensure a better future for the youths of Guyana.
“I am 18-year-old Truvanie Persaud, who resides at Strathspey on the East Coast Demerara. I have a positive attitude toward everything that happens within my life. My family taught me that no matter what happens it is significant to preserve a sincere smile on our faces. Even if something bad occurs, my parents told me to find something positive. As long as we are alive, there should be something good in the surrounding world. This philosophy helps me to be happy and satisfied with everything that I get,” she said.
Truvanie says she owes it to her mother for the esteemed young woman she has become today. Her mother she noted is her greatest inspiration in achieving her dreams. She shared that at one time she was really shy and took up table tennis which she affirms has made her more confident as well as more focused and concentrated.
She is currently a phlebotomy student at the Qualitest Medical Institute and hopes to one day pursue studies in nursing.
The optimistic Dhanita takes part in singing at mandir and dancing on stage for cultural events. She is very dedicated towards her religious duties. Being the only girl in her family this vigorous young woman single-handedly manages her household responsibilities, work commitment, studies, and pageantry.
The 1995-born beauty is a former student of the Professional Learning College and present student of Accountancy Training Centre where she is currently pursuing her advanced Diploma in Marketing and Business Management. She is employed at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
Dhanita aims to one day contribute to the success of the development of the culture that her fore-parents brought from India and to be an ambassador for her culture and a role model for other young women.
Twenty-one-year-old Bibi Sherina Mohamed hails from the village of Foulis on the East Coast Demerara. After obtaining ten successful passes at the CSEC examinations, Bibi Sherina enrolled in ABE to study for an Associate Degree in Business Management. It is her hope to read for her Master’s in Business Management in the future.
Bibi Sherina considers herself a woman of exceptional qualities and sees herself becoming a well-rounded young woman within society by setting a leading example for other young individuals that life doesn’t come to a stop after achieving your goals. She lives by the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Be the change you want to see’.
Her hobbies include dancing, baking, planning surprise parties, gardening and modelling in her free time.
Proud alumna of the Bishops’ High School, Surujdai Mukhram founded the Inter-Environmental Club in 2014, which promotes protecting and preserving our environment while helping our community, which she saw as an extracurricular activity involving other students of her school to boost their confidence and organizational skills in planning club meetings, service events, and fundraisers. This act led her toward receiving the prestigious community service plaque from the Bishops’ High Old Students Association. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Economics at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination level in addition to being awarded 13 CSEC passes including five distinctions.
Like her favourite colour, Surujdai reﬂects a red personality – driven and fiercely motivated. She was sports oriented back in school and was also involved in playing chess. She was on the school’s 2014-2016 girls’ basketball team as well as making the girls’ football team. Surujdai learned the importance of voluntary services, as she realized her actions were of great assistance to those in need and the help she gave could play a major role in shaping the society in which we live. After all, a society is not developed on its own but created by its people. Prior to graduating in 2016, she started advocating for minors at odds with the law aged 10 to 16, whose records vary from wandering to accused of murder. This enthusiastic youth counsellor and programme coordinator organizes weekly classes, motivational sessions and workshops, monthly haircuts for the children, birthday parties, game days and movie days aimed towards reminding and showing them that they are still loved and cared for; and can be reintegrated into society. She is also an administrator at Jaguar Oilfield Services, a local manufacturer of industrial equipment that caters for the Oil and Gas Industry; and is also currently working on a motivational book for youth, which she hopes to soon publish.
She is determined to become one of the leading women in society and to someday leave a legendary mark on the world.
The contestants will be sashed at the sashing ceremony scheduled for October 14, at the M&M Banquet Hall.
The event will also see the coronation of Mrs India Guyana whose name is yet to be announced. She was deemed most suitable from among four other women based on humanitarian work, professionalism, contribution to the Indian community and leadership skills.
The franchise has recently taken new directorship under Hashim Alli, well known for his involvement in both the fashion and entertainment industries after the relinquishing of the franchise by the pageant’s National Director, Uma Bux.
The Miss India Guyana Pageant is slated for October 27, at the Marriott Hotel.
Tickets for the Sashing Ceremony cost $1,500 and comes inclusive with cocktail canapés. For purchase of tickets persons can visit M&M or call 680-5999/688-0036. The ceremony commences at 7 pm.