Financially crippled Miss Zim Trust dupes 28 models
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This time, 28 models allege that the organisers of Miss Zimbabwe pageant, Miss Zim Trust, owe them $100 each in unpaid refunds.
The Miss Zim Trust promised to refund models $100 each which they had been forced to pay for their boot camp during the Miss Zimbabwe 2012 preparations.
The models were instructed to open accounts with Eco-cash, a cash transfer service run by mobile service provider, Econet.
This year, for the first time in the history of the pageant, models were forced to pay for their boot camp as the ill-prepared trust was struggling to raise funds for holding the pageant.
After paying the boot camp fee, the models were later moved to a low class Marondera hideout where they were allegedly forced to skip lunch and prepare their own meals.
In separate interviews with Saturday Leisure, models who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, expressed disappointment with the Miss Zim Trust which they accused of lying to them.
"We are very disappointed they told us to register with Eco-cash and promised us that they were going to transfer the money within a few days after the pageant, but now it's over a month and we are still waiting," said one model.
Another model added that after such an excruciating experience during the Miss Zim preparations they were hopeful that they would be refunded some money.
"We had such a terrible experience from the beginning and we had to solicit for cash from our parents and so we were really looking forward to paying them back, but now we have been waiting, to no avail," said another model.
Contacted for comment Miss Zim chairperson Kiki "Gogo" Divaris refuted the claims and said the girls never paid the boot camp fee to the trust.
"They never paid us, they were duped by someone else.
"I am a very honest woman. I cannot do that, we are looking after the girls and we are treating them fairly," said Gogo Divaris.
She expressed disappointment in why the girls had to approach the press on the issue.
"You know I hate gossips, I am trying to put order and integrity in the modelling sector.
"I am 88 years old and I could have retired long back, but I am doing this for a passion and I don't like publicity. I wonder why the models approached you, maybe you can assist them," she said.
Divaris said her vision was to work towards women and social empowerment rather than to be a publicity seeker.
"Let's all work for our Zimbabwe. My vision is to see women being empowered through various projects and that is all I am interested in, not to attract media attention," said the patron whose career spans more than two decades in the modelling scene.
This year, the Miss Zim Trust which took over from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority which had successfully run the pageant for the past six years, was dogged with problems that saw them bringing out a begging bowl to the corporate sector to assist them to successfully stage the country's coveted pageant.
The pageant was postponed twice and was eventually held in April.
Bulawayo's beauty Bongani Dhlakama was crowned this year's Miss Zimbabwe and is expected to receive her prizes before she leaves for the Miss World finals set for China in August.
Source: Saturday Leisure
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