Speaking at a forum on Albinism Awareness Day marked on April 5 at the Govi headquarters, Mr Janneh said: “It is obvious that we do not place albinism as mainstream disability but we do know that persons with albinism rank within the vulnerable groups in the society and it falls under our purview to protect vulnerable groups in our societies. AGA was founded in 2012 and it aims to fight for the right to dignity of albinos and raise awareness of people about the extremely difficult conditions in which persons with albinism live in The Gambia. AGA seeks to fight against the beliefs and myths about albinos, exclusion, humiliation, and lack of schooling, begging, sexual abuse and all other anti-social vices using humanistic principles.
“People living with albinism face social stigma and discrimination even though not as violent as our brothers and sisters in other countries like Kenya and Tanzania face. We are called ‘pune’ and all sorts of names because of our skin. We want to ensure and facilitate persons with albinism access to health care; endeavour to find funds to support surgical operations when necessary and promote the right of education for albinos in The Gambia. The association further seeks to engage in advocacy to enable Gambian society change its outlook towards albinos and to promote their social rights and draw the attention of policy-makers and NGOs on the situation of albinos in The Gambia and Africa.”
Despite advancement in human knowledge about the causes of albinism, Mr Janneh said misperceptions on the condition of his kind still abound: “Persons with albinism are not as any other persons simply because we lack what normally people have but again it does not mean we are not capable. All we lack is the pigmentation, which has made you darker in complexion and us fairer in complexion with blood hair and may be blue eyes, low vision and allergic to certain issues which others are not. This is why it’s fundamental to organise awareness creation on albinism as well as the dos and the don’ts of albinism so that collectively we can reduce vulnerability of albinos.”
Desk officer on disability at the Department of Social Welfare, Sainey Camara, declared: “We owe it to the vulnerable groups, and as a line ministry, we want to register our solidarity and support to AGA in ensuring the plights of albinos in The Gambia is on our agenda. We have a duty to protect, and duty to support the welfare of albinos in The Gambia. AGA can rest assured that our doors are open and willing to work with you and support the programs and activities of albinos?”
The executive director of the Gambia Federation of the Disabled, Ebrima Dibbasey said their goal is to strengthen the capacities of groups with disability who face discrimination in one way or the other. “We are aware of the problems albinos face including poor vision or sight. Our area of focus at GFD is how to improve the vision of visually inspire people,” he said.
By Sainey Marenah]]>