Albinos stage a march

2016-09-29 06:00
 Marchers walked the streets of Khayelitsha to raise awareness against people living with albinism. Inset: Victoria Sejosingoe.                    PHOTO: Sithembele Junior

Marchers walked the streets of Khayelitsha to raise awareness against people living with albinism. Inset: Victoria Sejosingoe. PHOTO: Sithembele Junior

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“People living with albinism are not a parallel society in any community and should be treated as fellow human beings.

This was made clear on Sunday when over 150 people living with the condition and supporters marched through the streets of Khayelitsha as part their awareness campaign.

The campaign was initiated by the Western Cape Albinism & Hypo-Pigment Foundation based at the Training Centre in Khayelitsha.

Founder Victoria Sejosingoe said that they decided to march to send a message that people with albinism are part of the community.

“We just want to show people that we are here and we are part of them. At the same time we want to tell people living with albinism that they are beautiful and they should be confident in their own skins,” said Sejosingoe.

She said that rampant discrimination and stigma are just few of the many challenges they faced.

“There is a problem with the definition of disability which leads to the people to not receive disability grants.

Albinism is caused by the lack of the melanin pigmentation in the skin, which results in lack of dark colour, sensitivity to the sun and a compromised eyesight.

This poor eyesight means that people cannot use the computer like other people and they since they are of a poor eyesight, they struggle to find work.

There is software that helps to enlarge text for them but it is expensive, which makes it difficult for them to gain employment,” explained Sejosingoe.

She also added that lack of funds to buy effective sunscreen lotions was also one of the challenges that they faced.

She also advised parents to be mindful of the emotional strain that children with albinism face and always be supportive towards them.

“Parents must understand that the child gets teased everyday so you must always affirm to them they are good enough and can achieve whatever they set their minds to.

They must understand that they too can be lawyers and nurses so parents must protect their children,” she said.

Sejosingoe also added that women mustn’t allow themselves to be shamed when they give birth to children with albinism.

“Women must usually understand that it is men that carry the albinism gene and must refused to be shamed.

It is not a course it is just a lack of melanin nothing more than that,” she said.

Nomhle Gugula encouraged the community to also join the fight against discrimination.

The event and the march were not only attended by affected people but also residents of Khayelitsha. She thanked the local Sanco, the Athlone School for the Blind, NGO Love in Action, Social Development and resident that came to support the organisation.

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