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OAM Foundation celebrates albinos, vows to end stigma, discrimination

Onome Okagbare -Majaro, a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, Akoka, who conquered the challenges associated with albinism despite all odds has vowed to stop at nothing until the stigma and discrimination against them are over.

Okagbare -Majaro who is loved and cherised by her mother, Mrs. Rita Okagbare, said it was her mother’s support that enabled her overcome discrimination that albinos suffer in a society like Nigeria.

To stop the discrimination and help more albinos realise their dreams, the happily married mother and Co-Founder of Onome Akinlolu Majaro (OAM) Foundation, is therefore, calling on Nigerians to support ongoing efforts in the country to address the myths and misconception about albinism.

For the self-funded Foundation, it is high time parents, guardians and the society at large put an end to the injustice suffered by those living with the genetic disorder, which many have eroneously attributed to a spiritual problem.

According to experts, albinism occurs due to lack of melanin in the skin cells.

It is against the backdrop that the Foundation organised an event in Lagos recently to mark this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day with the aim of strengthening awareness on albinism in the country.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Akinlolu Majaro, who is also a Co-Founder of OAM Foundation, urged the government at all levels to provide free skin and eye treatments for people living with albinism in Nigeria.

International Albinism Awareness Day is an annual United Nations observance held on June 13 and it focuses on raising public awareness of albinism and preventing attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. This year had the theme, “Shining our Light to the World.”

Majaro noted that the provision of free skin treatments would help protect their skin from damage while appealing to Nigerians to celebrate albinos instead of discriminating against them.

“I want the government to look at the two key things that are of great concern to people living with albinism; skin care and eye care. On skincare, we all know that when they are exposed to the sun, their skin have spots and they are also prone to skin cancer.

Since there are a lot of skincare products out there that can help them, government can come in and subsidise these skincare treatments thereby reducing their plight.

Concerning eyecare, people living with albinism do not have a very good vision. So they need help and support. So these are the two key areas that government can come in to support albinos”, he explained.

Majaro who decried poor access to healthcare for people living with albinism in Nigeria, further said: “As a society, we should treat them well, the society must accept albinos.

Our attitude towards them should be loving. We have to embrace them and also change our negative perception and misconception about them,”

He however, challenged albinos not to wallow in self-pity but rise against every discrimation against them by pursuing their dreams without fear or intimidation.

Giving the huge financial resources involved in raising awareness on albinism, he therefore, appealed to the government, corporate bodies and well-meaning Nigerians to support the Foundation.

In his presentation on Career Prospect/Developing the Good Resume, Human Resource Personnel of Forte Oil, Mr. Paschal Ejechukwu noted that albinos are smarter and more intelligent people compared to those that have melanin in their body.

Ejechukwu said as someone that recruits people for employment, he was speaking from experience that albinos spend more time to acquire and develop themselves because of the way society view them.

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