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Through the lens of disabled people
01 December 2005

Ha Noi, Viet Nam: With fashion shows, discussion panels, music performances, contests and more, this year's Beauty in Diversity day promises to provide great entertainment, while promoting equity and the participation of all people, especially those living with disabilities and HIV/AIDS.

This is the second annual Beauty in Diversity day to mark the joint recognition of World AIDS Day (1 December), International Day of Disabled Persons (3 December) and International Volunteer Day (5 December) on the same day. The event is dedicated to highlighting the economic, social and cultural contributions that those living with HIV/AIDS and with disabilities make to our society. At the same time, it will present the diversity of individuals who choose to volunteer to promote these ideals and to work for Viet Nam's development.

The event is only a few days after Vice President Truong My Hoa and Representatives of Central Party Commissions and the National Assembly met with self-help groups of people living with HIV/AIDS in a special effort to fight stigma and discrimination.

"Beauty in Diversity is for everyone and a great opportunity to celebrate diversity in voices, in appearance, in thought, in physical ability," said United Nations Resident Coordinator, Jordan Ryan. "All of us have something to contribute, and as this event shows, people living with HIV/AIDS and those living with disabilities can clearly offer a great deal to all of us.The involvement of volunteers is essential to create an active citizenry working to improve the lives of everyone."

Following last year's tremendous success that saw over 1000 people flood the grounds of Reunification Park, Beauty in Diversity 2005 is expecting that its programme of music, discussion, fashion, art and games, as well as information booths on the various organizations and causes represented, will attract even more people to learn about the contribution of those who are often left out or forgotten.

"This is a great chance for everyone, especially those living with HIV/AIDS and disabilities to meet their peers, to interact with each other and to share experiences about how to lead healthy and meaningful lives." said Mr. Nghiem Xuan Tue, Director of the National Coordinating Council on Disabilities (NCCD).

With UNV as the main sponsor of this year's event, international and national UN Volunteers will join other volunteers from self-help groups, youth organizations and clubs to help coordinate, run and work together to create a successful event.

Special features include a "Miss Beauty in Diversity" contest to challenge traditional views of what makes someone beautiful, and the "Special View" exhibition of photos by people with disabilities trained by UN Volunteers. This exhibition which is presented by the Disability Forum and the Viet Nam Artistic Photographers Association.