The 13th of June marked the International Albinism Awareness Day, a day to reflect on the plight of people with albinism in many parts of the world especially on the African continent.
On 18 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing this day to bring visibility to the genetic condition of albinism, as well as to people with albinism, their achievements, and the difficulties they continue to face on a daily basis in many countries. Many thanks to Human Rights Advocate Yusuf Mohamed Ismail Bari-Bari, who led the effort to pass this resolution that aims to promote and protect the rights of people with albinism, especially in Africa.
We can only raise the flag for people living with albinism if we attend to the issues that I shall embark on now:
Public health awareness is an important first step and adequate health services for skin and vision disabilities should be prioritised.
“Putting out messages that counter the stigma against people living with albinism is also important. Education is the key to success, remains a true statement, and yet a half-baked cake to the albino community which doesn’t have access to that education due to poverty. We continue to make our voices heard by our listening president over this issue. There are still a lot of children with albinism who are still disadvantaged in terms of accessing education in a conducive and welcoming environment.”
During the commemorations that were held in Gweru yesterday, founding director of Skincare Trust, Sue Takayidza said : “The main purpose of Skincare Trust is to empower people with Albinism for sustainable livelihoods development.”
The event was attended and supported by the albinism community as well as artists who offered entertainment.
As a writer, I am convinced that society must understand the truth that people with albinism have equal rights such as the right to life, the right to freedom and the right to education.
To echo the words of a parent of a child with albinism, society must stop discrimination against people with albinism. In moments past there were killings, but now the segregation and discrimination still kill morale. It is however the duty of the parents or guardians to step up and accept the responsibility God placed on their shoulders. The creator knew they can handle it. Confidence building is a full-time job that begins with the parents or guardians so that the child understands their uniqueness and is proud. Queen of Batonga aka Marvelous Chuma from Bulawayo performed her songs “Dada Nezvauri” and “We Are One” stressing the point that she can not change who she is but embraces it. Papa Delma the poet’s poem “Murungu Dunhu Munhu” brought out the true meaning of Ubuntu, we are indeed one people, one nation, one family
Precious Mushandu from Lower Gweru affectionately known as P Muvheti in the Albinism community shared that because of the love she is continually shown by her parents especially being given the equal opportunity to thrive, she is inspired to encourage others to accept who they are.
Sue Takayidza also urged communities to stop myths about Albinism and be ready to learn from the awareness campaigns that are done each and every time, for example on the 13th of June as recommended by the United Nations. Community leaders should be ready to engage people with Albinism and also include them in policy making.
Artists present to support this event were Pastor Ivy Charema, Miss Patience, Sue Takayidza, Simon Muza, Amanda Moyo, Onwell Kanyuruka, Vimbai Mutede, Mkoba-based dance group – Tansh Choreography & Edutainment and Mlilo the Comedian who was also the M.C. The Albinism community from Shurugwi and Lower Gweru were also in attendance at Awake Grace Ministries.
Basically, the lesson of love and unity was preached through this event. Love is not love until you give it away. God made us all in his image, gave us a purpose, and blessed us. We must also love one another no matter the skin color, or the way we would want to be treated. We are one. Unity of purpose is key because if divided we fall. As the artists, Albinism community, friends, and family came together to celebrate the International Albinism Awareness Day on the 13th of June 2023, there was enrichment, lessons learned, networks, and friendships made.
As we go about our business in life, let us remember we were all born to shine. Whether we are brown, yellow, pink, or orange we are significant individuals of great value. May we prepare for 2024 International Albinism Awareness Day now and help consents others on the rights of people living with Albinism. Educating children from a tender age will ascertain a loving and caring future generation that finds solutions to eradicate problems and crises.