International Albinism Awareness Day is celebrated worldwide on June 13, 2020. The day aims at creating awareness and acknowledging the multiple forms of discrimination that people with albinism face worldwide.
Albinism is non-contagious, genetically inherited, rare difference present at birth. This condition results in a lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.
This year’s International Albinism Awareness Day theme is ‘Made to Shine’. The theme has been chosen to celebrate the achievements and successes of people with albinism worldwide.
The theme ‘Made to Shine’ has been chosen to celebrate the achievements and success of people with albinism as well to stand in solidarity with people with albinism through their challenges.
As people with Albinism continue to face all forms of human rights violations, in some of the countries they have also been branded as ‘Corona’ or ‘COVID-19’ in an attempt to scapegoat them for the pandemic.
The theme symbolizes that even though people with albinism continues to suffer bullying, stigma, the world stands together with them in their fight for life that is free of violence and discrimination. A world where they are made to shine.
What is Albinism?
It is a rare, genetically inherited, and a non-contagious difference that is present at birth. In almost all kinds of albinism, both the parents must carry the gene of albinism for it to be passed on, even if they do not have albinism themselves.
Albinism results in a lack of pigmentation (melanin) in skin, hair, and eyes and causes extreme sensitivity to the sun and bright light. As a result, most people with albinism are visually impaired and are also prone to developing skin cancer. There is still no cure for the absence of melanin that is central to albinism.
In most parts of Africa, such children are considered a bad omen to the progress of families and societies. Many hold on to the archaic perception that thee children are cursed and highly infectious.
Consequentially, these children suffer great stigmatization from friends and the society they find themselves in. When they go out, hands are pointed at them and they look odd.
Based on that, many of these albinos confine themselves into solitude to escape from the harsh criticisms of people.
However, studies have proven that this condition is not infectious, neither is it as a result of a curse. Therefore, the STIGMA against must stop and stop now.