June 13: International Albinism Awareness Day 2020
Persons with albinism are often faced with misconceptions about their mental, intellectual and creative capabilities. Society has this strange idea that those with albinism can’t think for themselves and that they have limited capabilities because they look different to the next person.
Person with albinism can achieve anything they put their mind, time and effort to. Just like -we say this in inverted commas “Normal People”.
This International Albinism Awareness Day, in collaboration with I AM Movement, we celebrate Albinism Youth in Africa who are doing amazing things through their work and initiatives.
These are some of the faces inside the team of women behind Natural Soap range Mama Mzungu, under the Women and Children with Albinism Uganda NPO in Kampala Uganda. Through the economic empowerment of women and children with albinism, Monica has helped to organise, train and support a group of women in creating a beautiful range of soaps using locally sourced ingredients in the street markets of Kampala. Lemon grass, lavender, coffee, cove and eucolites are the beautiful aroma in these soaps.
This is a view of the beautiful women behind Mama Mzungu. Through sustainable job creation and economic empowerment, the image of those affected by Albinism can be changed and we can see them achieve a level of respect and acceptance they duly deserve.
Alan Herbert is a Journalism Graduate from Nairobi, Kenya and he is in the front line of Kenyan youth that are focused on demystifying misconceptions about persons with albinism through the movement Black Albinism. Alan believe that media is a powerful tool that can aid in breaking stereotypes about persons with albinism. Amongst the initiatives Black Albinism has brought to the vibrant city of Nairobi, the Black Albinism Football Club has caught societies eye. Black Albinism also launched the Black Albinism Festival which is a festival dedicated to showcasing talented individuals within Kenya through arts and crafts from various artists in Kenya including those with albinism.
Monica Norley has been working with persons with albinism for around two years now and she’s what we call an ally to the albinism community. Monica Norley is an International Development Consultant living in Brighton in East Sussex, UK. Monica’s line of work has focused mostly on the economic empowerment of women and children throughout different regions of the world for 10 years. When Monica’s work led her to Uganda where she came to learn that women and children with albinism were not afforded the opportunity to form part of the Ugandan work market because of the misconceptions associated with albinism. Monica then took it upon herself to empower women and children with albinism in Uganda through a soap making skills development initiative which has now launched the social enterprise brand Mama Mzungu.
Joy Likhoele is a South African fashion designer, fashion consultant, stylist and creator of the clothing brand Joy Devine. Joy has had an interest in fashion from the tender age 9. As a young girl growing up, Joy had to face various forms of discrimination from peers and people in her community because of her albinism. Most children with albinism face teasing, mocking and isolation from their peers because of the misconceptions and prejudices about albinism which often affects the wellbeing and overall development of those on the receiving end.
To escape the torments, Joy often rushed home after school to hide behind her passion for sewing and dress making. Fast forward to today, Joy has turned the sour lemons thrown at her and turned them into lemonade.
Joy is now a qualified fashion designer and creates various garments using various fabrics with a speciality in African Wax Fabric. Her creations are a kaleidoscope of old meets the new and traditional style. Using bright bold and expressive colour and fabric to display the modern inspirations around us to achieve her unique look.
#MadeToShine #JustLikeYou is a digital campaign to celebrate persons with albinism within Africa for International Albinism Awareness Day 2020. Persons with Albinism throughout Africa are doing amazing work to change the perspective on Albinism, by leading initiatives that show that they too are part of our society, just like you. Join I AM Movement and Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa OSISA as we fly the Albinism flag high. Keep your eye on our social platforms for more.