Made To Shine” is the theme for this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day (13 June 2020).
The theme was chosen to celebrate the achievements and successes of persons with albinism worldwide.
As the UN states: “It is also a call to stand in solidarity with people with albinism through their challenges. In this unprecedented time, people with albinism continue to suffer all types of human rights violations. Recently, in some countries, they have been branded “Corona” or “COVID-19” in an attempt to scapegoat them for the pandemic. Killings, attacks, bullying, dehumanizing stigma and discrimination continue against people with albinism. Yet on this day, we are reminded that in spite of these horrific practices, people with albinism continue to defy odds, overcome hurdles and face up to injustices with resilience. Today, we stand together with people with albinism all over the world in their fight to live a life that is free of stigma, discrimination, fear and violence. A world where they are made to shine.”
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Since 2018, we at Making More Health are proud to work in collaboration with the African Social entrepreneur Jane Waithera and Positive Exposure – Kenya (PE-Kenya). It is a Non-Governmental Organization that aims to transform public perceptions on albinism and other rare diseases in Kenya through education and collaboration with communities and local advocacy groups.
“Jane is one of the fascinating social entrepreneurs who I have met during our Making More Health activities,” explains Manuela Pastore, global lead of MMH. “Her reports show that the patients’ needs are going far beyond medical care and that inclusion is more than a balance based on figures.”
Based on what we have learned from Jane and becoming aware about the fact, that also in our MMH project area in Bungoma county a lot of People with albinism (PwA) had many challenges, we implemented many projects in Western Kenya, to raise awareness on albinism. Using a similar social support model as PE-Kenya, together with our partner Golden Age Albinism Support Program (GAASP), we have created five albinism social support groups that currently have 85 members comprising men, women, and children. Members meet monthly to offer mental support, share knowledge on health-related topics as well as engage in economic self-development activities e.g., liquid soap production, poultry farming, animal husbandry, artwork, and bead making. On-site, we work together with our communities on solutions to meet their albinism specific needs like eye care and skin care. Besides this, we also engage other employees in the training of our communities on the ground.
MMH and PE-Kenya also ensured 30 students with albinism who previously enrolled in individual schools attend regular schools and provided with reasonable accommodations like prescription glasses, telescopes, and large prints.
On this International Albinism Awareness Day, we want to thank PE-Kenya and GAASP for their partnership and support. In the last years, we’ve learned a lot from Jane’s passionate fight against the stigmatization of people with albinism, but there is still a much bigger need all over East Africa and beyond. So let’s connect with other organizations and partner companies, to create a holistic, sustainable eco-system.
Join our Live session on June 13th. Click here for more information and dial-in opportunities.
Here is my video message in preparation for this event sharing on how we collaborate with Jane – and my wish to all for tomorrow and the future:
Let’s make this world a better one where everyone has a chance to live a life with dignity, where people can develop skills that makes them happier and create a benefit for others. A world where it doesn’t matter how you look, if you are black or white, if you look different, if you are different. It should count only who you are and how you care. Wishing all the people with albinism that you can start to dream of a life that makes you happy and that you find an environment and people empowering you to do the first steps to realize your dreams!
Training on albinism – download material for free
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