Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes making persons with the condition stand out in physical appearance. With no cure for the absence of melanin, persons living with albinism face discrimination and in different parts of the world are victims of violent attacks.
In a bid to do our part to improve the lives of people with albinism, Higherlife Foundation recently participated in the 2021 International Albinism Awareness Day commemorations held in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe. Through a generous donation from Rabbi Dr. Itzhak Shapira of Ahavat Ammi Ministries, The Foundation distributed protective resources including high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreens and wide-brimmed sun hats to the remote community of Zaka district.
Featuring an array of speakers from the Albinism Community, Zimbabwe Albino Association, Zaka Rural District and Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the commemorations highlighted the plight of persons living with albinism. Some of the issues presented included the high costs of sun protection they require to survive and the rights of persons with albinism.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Maunganidze, Chairperson of the National Disability Board in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in Zimbabwe, emphasised the need to end discrimination against persons with albinism and for their communities to access equitable health services.
“Skin cancer is highly preventable when persons with albinism enjoy their right to health. This includes access to regular health checks, sunscreen, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing” – Dr. Maunganidze.
Strength Beyond All Odds
Facial lesions, sunburns, cracked lips, chapped skin, visual impediments, discrimination, abduction, trafficking, and even murder; these are some of the multiple challenges people living with albinism face worldwide.
In 2013 United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2013 (A/HRC/RES/23/13) calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. The following year International Albinism Awareness Day was established and is commemorated on the 13th of June of each year since.
Despite the marginalisation and myriad of challenges that those with albinism face, they continue to show “Strength Beyond the Odds” which was the theme of the 2021 commemorations worldwide.
With the support of organisations such as the Zimbabwe Albino Association and Higherlife Foundation, children with albinism are accessing quality education allowing them to pursue employment opportunities and have sustainable livelihoods in their future.
For more on the Zimbabwe Albino Association kindly click here