Lucy Iziegbe, a Person with Albinism (PWA) and current Miss Philanthropy Nigeria, has called for an end to all forms of discrimination against PWA.
Miss Iziegbe, who is also representing Nigeria in the Miss Philanthropy Africa Beauty competition, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Monday.
According to her, the plight and discrimination against PWA in Africa is worrisome and requires urgent actions to be taken by all to end the trend.
She said the discrimination against PWA was responsible for many of them living in poverty, lacking access to education, medical care and job opportunities.
“According to statistics, there are more than two million Persons with Albinism in Nigeria but just a few of them are privileged to have the basic amenities of life.
“Some of them who try beyond all odds to be educated after school are unemployed not because they are not qualified but because of their skin colour,” she said.
Miss Iziegbe said a lot of children with Albinism were being bullied in schools, while those who could not handle the bullying opt out of school.
“A place where they ought to acquire knowledge has now become a red zone for them and so a lot of them are uneducated.
“Even in marriage, most females with Albinism are frowned upon and seen as an abomination and some of them give birth outside wedlock.
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“These women are then made to cater for their children with no support and so they live in poverty,” she said.
She said that her drive to get general acceptance for PWA made her participate in Miss Philanthropy Nigeria 2020 competition.
The pageant aims to raise female charity ambassadors in Africa and the diaspora who would carry out charitable works while promoting the rich cultural heritage in Africa.
The grand finale for the selection of the queen is scheduled to take place between November and December in Abuja.
“When I look in the mirror, I see a person, a beautiful, strong and courageous, who despite a deficiency, is strong, determined, intelligent and successful.
“I have hair as beautiful as the sun, eyes of brightness and body of unseen lightness and genuine meekness clothed with the skin of royalty made in the image and likeness of the Almighty.”
Miss Iziegbe appealed for government support in the provision of free sunscreen lotions and access to free eyes and skin checks for PWA.
“The numbers of PWA dying from skin cancers disarming, PWA are prone to skin cancers because of little melanin, a pigment which protects from sun burns.
“Applying sunscreen lotions, creams on the skin of PWA helps to reduce the harmful effect of the sun on the skin.
“However, these lotions, creams are expensive and not easily available in the country, the government and Non-Governmental Organisations can help buy these creams from abroad and donate to PWA in the country,” Miss Iziegbe said.
She urged PWA to have self-confidence, see beyond their limitations and take good care of their skin.
“Your skin is what makes you special, always use your umbrellas, sunglasses, sunscreen lotions, drink a lot of water, avoid too much contact with the sun and stay healthy,” she said.
Albinism is a generic condition characterised with a decreased production of a pigment called melanin in the eyes, skin and hair of an individual.