September is South Africa’s National Albinism Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to Persons with albinism, to highlight their pride, challenges and finding solutions.
The Director-General for the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) Advocate Mikateko Maluleke, said during this month all endeavours should be channelled towards the provision of information on albinism to create awareness and education of the disability.Albinism is a rare genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair or eyes and occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world.
“People with albinism continue to face an uphill struggle to attain a life with dignity and equality and to fight against injustice and discrimination. The declaration of 13 June by the General Assembly in 2015 as International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) highlights the critical need for the world to recognise the plight of persons with albinism,”
“We have the opportunity to pause, reflect and remember that not all persons are treated equally, and that many persons with albinism continue to suffer human rights abuses and violations, often invisibly and in silence. People with albinism continue to face multiple forms of discrimination because it’s still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically,” she said.
She added that DWYPD in collaboration with the National Albinism Task Force will host an Albinism Community Outreach programme and webinar for youth with Albinism to engage on pressing issues faced by youth and persons with albinism in the country and persons with albinism broadly.
This month will be celebrated under the theme “Inclusion is Strength,” which builds from last year’s theme of “United in making our voice heard.”
It aims to ensure the inclusion of the voices of persons with albinism in all sectors of life. It emphasises the importance of inclusion of a diversity of groups from both within and outside the albinism community.
The 2023 albinism month theme will also highlight the importance and benefits of:
- Including a broad spectrum of persons with albinism in albinism-related discussions, including youth, women, children, older persons, LGBTQ+ and persons with albinism of all races and ethnic backgrounds;
- Collaborating and embracing albinism within the disability movement, and in other sectors where decisions affect persons with albinism; and
- Seeking synergies with human rights groups and other groups from outside the albinism movement
“This will help people to understand persons with albinism and the challenges they face. People must understand that Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition which occurs worldwide regardless of ethnicity or gender.” She said
Maluleke added that people wit