It was a day of joy for Kalu Victor, a blind albino student of History and Strategic Studies at the University of Lagos, Akoka, when a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Onome Akinlolu Majaro (OAM) Foundation, visited him with an award of scholarship.
The scholarship, the Foundation says will cover tuition and accommodation during the four-year programme.
The OAM Foundation which is committed to ending stigma and discrimination against people living with albinism in the country and beyond, 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.
Speaking during the offer in Lagos recently, Co-Founder of the Foundation, Onome Okagbare Majero,said: “In line with this objective, we are supporting Kalu, a blind albino to realise his academic dream. “We plan to offer more scholarships in the future and we are open to partnership to enable us do more in empowering more albinos.”
She said the Foundation came up with the scholarship policy to provide financial assistance for albino children and youths who would otherwise have been unable to find the resources for their education, while appealing to philanthropists and corporate organisations in the country to assist the Foundation to impact more lives.
Onome noted that her NGO was moved by the plight of Kalu because visually impaired people face more challenges than other people with other forms of disability as they cannot see.
She therefore, called on Nigerians to stop stigmatising against people living with albinism, stressing that the condition is not a disease but only a genetic disorder.
Commending the Foundation for the gesture, Kalu who is an indigene of Abia State, said that the scholarship was not only a big relief to him, but would also boost his academic performance and bring out the best in him.
“Before, I was living in fear, but now I am living in hope. “In campus, everything is expensive and to make things worse because of my condition I have to spend more. The way we write is different and our materials are expensive”, he said.
Kalu who was beaming with smiles further said: “With this support, I know my dream of becoming a media practitioner can be achieved,” he added with palpable excitement.
On how he lost his sight, he explained: “I was not born blind, I lost my sight in 1998 about 20 years ago. It was domestic accident, people were fighting and one of the fighters wanted to hit the other person but happened to hit me on my left eyes and due to wrong medication I lost the second eyes.”
” We are six in number.My mother is late and my father is a taxi driver, so survival was not easy”, he added.