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Mr and Miss Albinism on

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By Faith Kadzanja & Sam Banda Jnr:

For the first time in the history of beauty pageants in the country, persons with albinism will compete in the Mr and Miss Albinism to be held on September 7 2019 in Lilongwe.

Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) is spearheading the beauty pageant with support from other stakeholders.

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Addressing members of the press in Lilongwe on Saturday during the launch of the beauty pageant, Apam Board Member, Grace Massa, said the pageant was more than just about beauty but rather it is also aimed at celebrating the uniqueness of persons with albinism in the country.

She said, mostly, persons with albinism look down on themselves because of the social stigma they face in society and that, as such, through the pageant they want to send out a message to people with albinism that they are strong and beautiful.

“Although the condition and position of persons with albinism in Malawi remains calamitous, we have chosen to celebrate who we are. For the models, this will be a battle of boldness, confidence, character development and brains, among other things,” Massa said.

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Director of Programmes, Management and Evaluation in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Felix Sapala, hailed Apam saying the government was doing all it could to protect persons with albinism in the country.

During the launch, Apam revealed that, so far, over 10 contestants have registered to participate in the pageant.

Last month Apam Programmes Lead and Event Organising Committees Focal Person, Peter Kayenda, said the beauty pageant would be held annually, funds permitting.

“This is part of making a statement that, like everyone else, persons with albinism have a right to life,” Kayenda said.

He said that, this year, Mr and Miss Albinism will run under the theme ‘We Are Just Like You’.

Kayenda said there was untapped talent in persons with albinism; hence, the decision to come up with Mr and Miss Albinism beauty pageant.

“Some of the persons with albinism have defied the odds to show the world that everything is possible in life. So, apart from using this stage to call upon people to stop attacking persons with albinism, we also want to raise awareness, empower and create a sense of self pride,” Kayenda said.

Apam said recently that the country had recorded 146 attacks targeting persons with albinism, bringing the risk of existential extinction and severe trauma to victims and their families alike.

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