Helping hand extended to albinos
The recently established 'Albino Corner' seeks to aid persons living with this condition in Walvis Bay.
01 July 2020 | Local News
Anna Uupindi; Junior Erongo regional councillor; “Their lack of melanin should not be regarded as a good or bad omen.”
The junior regional councillor for the Walvis Bay urban constituency Anna Uupindi recently introduced the 'Albino Corner'.
The launch of the initiative, which coincided with International Albinism Awareness Day (13 June), aims to provide lotions, moisturizers and sunscreens that are specially formulated to the needs of such persons in the Erongo region.
In addition to the Lavozon and Eucerin brand products sponsored by a German based non-governmental organisation, recipients also received food vouchers of N$1 000 the previous week.
More than 100 beneficiaries were registered by Uupindi in conjunction with the office of the regional constituency councillor, Knowledge Iipinge.
Uupindi, who is a grade 12 learner at Duneside High School, says people with albinism often face discrimination and many other challenges, including eyesight difficulty.
“Albinism is prominent in our constituency. In many cultures, possessing a body part of an albino person brings good luck. The opposite is also true. In some communities those living with albinism are considered to bring bad luck and have been murdered as a result of their condition.”
Uupundi reiterates that neither of these belief are true. “The fact is that persons living with albinism have a lack of melanin and thus lack pigmentation in their skin, eyes and hair. This is caused by a defect in one or several genes that produce melanin and thus their lack of melanin should not be regarded as a good or bad omen.”
According to Ruusa Ntinda, vice-chairperson for the organisation Support in Namibia for Albinism Sufferers Requiring Assistance (SINSRA), people with albinism are known to have higher rates to get cancer than others.
“Persons with albinism often experience troubles with eyesight and thus their education can be hampered. It results in a high number of persons with albinism experiencing trouble with learning. Persons with albinism may need reading tools and material with enlarged text.”
Uupindi says the issue does not lie in the lack of capabilities of persons suffering from albinism; she attributes it to an outright lack of equipment.
“The discrimination suffered by persons with albinism while at school often results in them dropping out of school. This in turn leads to a lack of employment and brings about dependency. We therefore need the private sector to come on board and help people with albinism so that they can make a decent living.”
Upundi said that statistics compiled in 2018 indicate that 1 800 to 2 000 persons in Namibia suffer from albinism.