18 October 2002

“Don't discriminate against albinos”

The President of Namibian Albino Association, Joseph Ndinomupya, urged employers, especially in the private sector, to stop psychological discrimination against albinos. Ndinomupya told Nampa in an interview yesterday that he was concerned that people continued to discriminate against albinos, especially in employment sector. He said employers should realise that albinos are as intelligent as other people, despite their skin colour.

He also said families that have albino children should understand that the hot sun is dangerous to their skin and should therefore not be allowed to walk in the sun. "They should wear long-sleeved clothes to protect themselves from the hot sun and they should always wear hats whenever they are outdoors during the day," he said. Ndinomupya also urged parents not to misuse "these people" (albinos), especially in villages where they have to go and fetch water or wood and taking care of cattle.

He added that all these chores are performed in the sun, which could lead to poor health or even death to albinos. "I know many albinos that died because of skin wounds caused by the sun. But I also know that some have died because of ignorance and misuse by their own families.

“Please, people must accept us as human beings and give us the special attention we need," Ndinomupya said. He said people should "drop the traditional superstitious that are misleading about the albinos and accept them as people with equal rights as others". In some cultures, albino babies are killed just after birth because it is believed that they bring bad luck to the family.

"We also want to enjoy privileges as other people and we would like people to know that we are existing, suffering and in need of assistance in order to survive. Why (do people lend) assistance to other vulnerable groups and ignore us?" he questioned.

Meanwhile Ndinomupya said the Ministry of Health and Social services (MoHSS) would next week launch the Albinism Awareness Week in the capital with the aim to bring the plight of albinism sufferers to the attention of the Namibian public.(Nampa)

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