With a number of international beauty pageant titles under her belt and being a full-time mom to three boys, Doha resident Yezenia Navarro is also the founder of Queens Without Scars, an organization that raises awareness on violence against women.
Navarro’s sole profession is in the fashion and beauty industry where she fills various and multiple roles, such as acting, modeling, presenting, coaching models, and choreographing catwalks. She has won many “Mrs.” beauty titles. These pageants are specifically for women who are married, have a family, and support a cause.
“I’ve been active in charity my whole life. I’m the cofounder of one organization in Mexico “R11," where we support artists and organize events to collect money for the people in need,” Navarro said. “I always wanted to start my NGO against violence and when I moved to Qatar I found out that it’s a place where you can make your dreams come true,” she added.
Navarro, originally from Mexico and the title holder of Mrs. Mexico 2014, said she started the QWS campaign in Qatar but officially launched it when participating in the Mrs. Universe pageant in 2014.
“It was a great way to spread the word to the world through all the smart and powerful ladies competing, 42 ladies from all over the world,” she said.
QWS got its name as inspiration from the Mrs. Universe pageant.
“In the [Mrs. Universe] forum there were only queens, beauty queens. All married ladies, entrepreneurs, business women, and mothers,” Navarro said. “"All women are queens" and for Queens Without Scars we want a world of no more violence, no more scars,” she added.
Navarro started the QWS campaign because she believes that domestic violence towards women and children is cyclical and sees it as an epidemic of our society.
“If a child is raised in a violent environment, surely the child will go to school and be abused other children, and he will probably bully other children,” she said. “This child will believe it’s right to abuse a woman or a child. And if the child is a girl, she will grow up believing that being abused or beaten is right because it is what she saw at home.”
Navarro believes that education on domestic violence is key. Violence against women is rampant in countries with very low sustainable development.
“We need to educate boys to respect women and vice versa. Teach them that violence is not the answer to any problem. Violence only creates more violence, but love and gentle words eliminates anger,” she said.
Navarro knew that she had two choices: watch violence continue to spread or do something about it. She chose the latter and marshaled support for QWS around the world. The campaign is up on almost every social media platform and is shared through advertisements, television, radio, magazines, and charity events, such as building sheltered housing for women and children facing domestic violence. QWS has had photoshoots in more than 14 countries with many diverse women supporting the cause.
The results of the QWS campaign have been both positive and successful. According to Navarro, victims of abuse work on their self esteem, survivors of violence share their testimonies with QWS and other victims to motivate them to make a stand. The only obstacles that Navarro faced were the difficulty to get women to talk about their abuse problems, and the fact that it was taboo to talk about in many places.
Apart from her own campaign, Navarro has also been heavily involved with the United Nations both in the beauty and human rights realms. She won Mrs. Mexico United Nations 2015, Mrs. United Nations World Ambassador 2015 and was invited as an Individual Expert of the United Nations during "The 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice” which was held in Qatar last year.
Volunteering and supporting causes has always been a passion for Navarro. She sees giving back to others as a blessing, as it’s a way for her to be thankful for everything she has.
“I volunteered for "A night for Nepal” charity dinner for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, “Shoot for a cause" for the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines and was a godmother of a five-year-old girl in Philippines as well, I sponsored her kindergarten,” Navarro said. “I volunteered for "Movember" to raise awareness about prostate cancer and attended many cancer awareness events.”
Navarro has also visited orphans in Jamaica, Colombia, Mexico, and the Philippines, homes of the elderly, HIV positive orphans, kids with disabilities or special needs, and laborers.
“I want to make a difference in the world. We live in a very peaceful and safe country and we have to work to change what we have to change and keep the good things,” Navarro said.
When asked what her advice to women who are currently facing any kind of violence is, she responded:
“You are not alone! You are worth it! You are enough, you are important. Be brave, stand up and seek for help, say “no more!” There’s no one like you in the whole world. Don't let anyone tell you something different. You deserve more than that! You are beautiful! You are a queen!”
In the spirit of Ramadan, let’s all try to be more charitable and to give back more to our communities and to the world.
Make sure to share your thoughts below! And visit our website: www.ramadan.qa
All images provided by Yezenia Navarro, and her Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/MrsMXUN/
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