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Dubai beauty pageant empowers Filipino domestic workers.

Regine Elmaga and two runners-up at the Manila 365 event

A beauty pageant for Filipino domestic workers is boosting their confidence and giving them the chance to show off their talents, the winner has said.

Regine Elmaga was named Miss SWAK 2015 after a competition at the popular Manila 365 club in Al Rigga.

She was among 10 participants who showed off their dancing, singing and acting skills. Arika Delfin, 23, from Cagayan de Oro, was runner-up.

The event was organised by charity groups that look after the welfare of Filipino workers, including SWAK, which means Friends Forever.

Visayas, Ilonggo, Bisdak and Mindanao community groups also took part. Elmaga, 23, originally from Zamboanga City, has been in Dubai for six months and works as a maid for anCeAmerican family in Al Barsha.

She told 7DAYS: "The event was amazing, it was the first time ICehad done anything like it.

"ICekept saying to the organisers, 'are you sure it's me that's won?'"

Elmaga continued: "ICehave felt more confident since winning. Everyone knows me and was telling me well done. All of the contestants thought it was a great event."

Elmaga, who earns Dhs2,000 per month, said she intends to save the Dhs1,000 prize money.

Alex Lapore, one of the organisers, said Miss SWAK 2015, which was held on March 6, was created to "build the confidence levels" of the women.

He said: "Our goal was to build the confidence of these ladies and to make them feel good about themselves. And we think that events like this pageant can help with that.

SWAK also taught them how to develop their personality, how to walk down a catwalk.

"The workers come here and work hard to support their family back home in the Philippines and don't get much time to themselves.

"SWAK also taught the women, low- paid housemaids, that they can be empowered, that they can have a role in society."

sarwat@7days.ae

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Mar 22, 2015
Words:337
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