Mr and Miss Albinism: Kenya fights deadly stigma with albino beauty pageant
TVC E. People with albinism are being attacked, abducted and killed in East and Southern Africa, but Kenya is hoping to change the perception of albinos as it holds the first Mr & Miss Albinism beauty pageant on Africa Human Rights Day.
Organisers, the Albinism Society of Kenya (ASK), are hoping the pageant will promote inclusion of people with albinism, who often face stigma, alienation and even physical abuse in a region that has been rocked by an unprecedented wave of killings of albinos.
As a result, a UN special envoy earlier this year declared that the atrocities render persons with albinism “an endangered people group facing a risk of systemic extinction over time if nothing is done to stem the tide”.
Mr & Miss Albinism Kenya 2016 propelled a number of young albinos into the limelight after a first round of auditions held on 24 September 24 in the capital, Nairobi.
“Persons with albinism are extremely excited about this first ever Mr and Miss Albinism. It has never happened before and they have an opportunity to showcase what they got and I can assure you it’s something,” MP Isaac Mwaura for Special Interest Group, and ASK’s National Coordinator told local press.
“A lot still remains to be done if we are to combat the stigma and discrimination faced by persons with albinism in many parts of the country.”
He continued: “We need to increase levels of awareness, give children a chance to attend school, provide sunscreen lotion and skin cancer treatment, improve access to eye care services – especially prescription glasses, open job placement opportunities including self-employment, lobby for better policies and most importantly, increase the self-esteem of persons with albinism.”