Don’t discriminate against albino people – NGO

Mrs. Onome Okagbare-Majaro, the co-founder, Onome Akinlolu Majaro Foundation, on Tuesday in Lagos advised people not to discriminate against people living with albinism.

Okagbare-Majaro gave the advice while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the 2017 International Albinism Awareness Day organised by the foundation in Lagos.

The Wikipaedia, an online dictionary, says: “Albinism in humans is a congenital disorder characterised by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes.

“Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus, and amblyopia.’’

Okagbare-Majaro said, “There is no doubt that people with albinism face discrimination worldwide; the truth is that albinism is greatly still being misconstrued, both socially and medically.

“Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited difference present at birth, which both parents must carry the gene for it to be passed on.

“Albinism results in lack of pigmentation melanin in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.

“It is by no means a disability or a death sentence, this is why we are out here to create general awareness about albinism to the general public,” she said.

The foundation co-founder, who also lives with albinism, said that the foundation was initiated in 2015 with the “Beyond the Complexion Campaign’’ to help people with albinism to build self-confidence.

“The physical appearance of persons with albinism is often the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalisation and social exclusion.

“The International Albinism Awareness Day aims to address two key areas, the first being self-esteem and also their involvement in the society.

“It is observed that a good number of people with albinism in society suffer low self-esteem usually resulting from their skin condition,” she said.

According to her, by creating more awareness and empowerment programme, it will help albinos to realise that they are also part of the society.

“It is our hope that throughout this event, parents can see the need to properly bring up their albino children and treat them as equal with those who have melanin.

“We believe that family plays a vital role in helping the albino child to grow to become strong member of the society.

“When this is done, we believe that the social perception will be reduced and the society will begin to readjust its perceptions about those with albinism,” she said.

Melanin, according to MedicineNet is “the pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their colour. Dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light-skinned people have.’’ ~NAN
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