To effectively tackle stigma and discrimination against people living with albinism in Nigeria, an advocacy movie on albinism titled, “Beyond the Complexion”, has premiered in Lagos.
The short movie which focused on albinism was produced by Ada Ossai Production in conjunction with Onome Akinlolu Majaro Foundation (OAM Foundation) to raise awareness and educate parents and the society about the need to love, accept and support children living with the genetic condition.
OAM foundation is founded on the belief that enlightenment added with a little act of love and kindness can change the way people living with albinism are treated.
Experts say albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair or eyes which occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. It is estimated that Nigeria has about 6 million albinos.
A fast rising Nollywood actress and member of the Golden Movie Ambassadors of Nigeria, Ossai said Beyond the Complexion, is an advocacy movie that seeks to rally support and care for people living with albinism.
Directed by Michael Azano, the movie was premiered recently at Pefti Film Institute, Lagos.
Throwing some light into the concept of the movie, Ossai said the discrimination and stigmatization against persons with albinism is so much in our society. And this has to stop.
“I had a share of this rejection in school while growing up and even now as an adult, I face discrimination in the entertainment industry so, I decided to put the movie together so that we can put a stop to stigma and discrimination against albinos because it has happened to me. The movie is a true life story mixed with a little fiction”, she explained.
According to her, “The story plot is about a young girl living with albinism called Marvellous Devis. Her mother loved her so much but her father chose to be indifferent because of her colour. Marvelous’ father was always treating her and her mother with disdain, doubting if he was truly her father. But thank God for a family doctor that came to enlighten the father about albinism, afterwards he changed his attitude towards mother and child.”
The film maker noted that there were many Nigerian children living with albinism like Marvelous whose parents needed to be educated that albinism is just an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair or eyes and nothing more.
Advising those living with albinism not to allow the condition pose a barrier to them in pursuing their future aspiration, she said: “You have to be strong to live with albinism. You just have to be strong and believe in yourself. Remove timidity and low self esteem. Love yourself first”.
Also speaking at the occasion, Co-Producer and Co-founder of OAM Foundation, Mrs. Onome Okagbare-Majaro, said the movie was about a young girl becoming herself and conquering her challenges having to deal with love from her family.
Okagbare-Majaro who is using her foundation to raise awareness about albinism, said the movie was produced to teach parents about the importance of love and support for albino children and to demystify the myths surrounding albinism in this part of the world.
She explained: “OAM Foundation and Ada Ossai Production worked together to tell the story from albinos’ perspective to further intensify awareness about albinism.
Albinism has to do with gene. It does not have to do with witchcraft nor infidelity. Albinos deserve love and respect and albinos can do anything.”
On her part, Onome’s mother and Director, OAM Foundation, Mrs Rita Okagbare, urged parents to love their children living with albinism, stressing that love for albinos must start from home.
The movie, according to the producers, featured Nollywood stars; Saheed Balogun, Ayo Adesanya, Similoluwa Hassan and others.