MRS Onome Akinlolu, the Chief Executive Officer, Onome Akinlolu Majaro Foundation, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the cause of albinism, has warned of the pernicious effects of continuing in the path of stigmatising people living with albinism rather than seeking to understand the condition.
Speaking during the first ever albino photography exhibition tagged “Angels Among Men” put together by a documentary photographer, Damilola Onafuwa, in Lagos, displaying the shots of over 20 albinos,She said that “stigmatisation dehumanises albinos more than melanin absence” adding that it cripples their creative geniuses, forcing them to recoil into their shells instead of reaching their “maximum potential”
Akinlolu admonished Nigerians to empathise with the condition through seeking to understand it rather than continue in the age-old practice of injustice and discrimination.
According to her, “people living with albinism are just as normal as other people; they cry, they smile; they have emotions and the same amount of brain cells.
“People need to realise that melanin absence in PLWA did not alter the essential humanity of albinos rather it made them special. But stigmatisation dehumanises PLWA more than the absence of melanin.
“There are so many albinos doing well in different sectors of the economy, people who have risen above the board, people who are thriving in their chosen fields of endeavour in spite of the circumstances, but we still have so many living in fear, forced by society to cower into their shells instead of reaching their maximum potential.
“We believe that the negative perception towards albinos can change if people seek to understand them more,” Akinlolu said.
Also speaking, the photographer and convener, Damilola Onafuwa, told Tribune Online that he intended to change the conversation about albinism through the photographer.
“When people talk about albinism it is usually all about the injustices and stigmatisation. Why all of these are true, I feel like a different approach to the conversation would be to celebrate people who have lived above these things, people who have survived all the negative indices of albinism. This is the reason for this project,” he stated.
According to him, the exhibition would be shown in four African countries namely, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa in other to create more awareness around the continent.
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