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Rotarians support people with albinism

As people with albinism continue to face numerous challenges such as lack of protective gear against the sun, Rotary Club of Limbe has donated 500 pairs of sunglasses worth K5 million.

One of the beneficiaries Esmie Mphande said apart from facing human rights abuse, they are also vulnerable to the sun.

She said it becomes difficult to walking in the sun without a sunhat or sunglasses.

“The other challenge that we usually face is lack of lotion that protects our skin from the sun but the glasses we have received will go a long way,” she said.

Receiving the donation in Blantyre, Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) Executive Member, Ian Simbota, hailed the Rotarians for the gesture.

“We are people who need support from the corporate world. The glasses will help many who cannot afford [them]. About 500 people or so have been supported. This is no mean achievement,” he said.

Rotary Club of Limbe president, Mahomed Tayub, said people with albinism face stigma and other barriers to fully enjoy their economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.

He said it was against this background that they wished to change the mindset people have towards people with albinism.

“One of the effects of albinism is light sensitivity since pigment in the eye absorbs light and helps us tolerate most kinds of bright light; the lack of pigment in these structures makes individuals with albinism very sensitive to light, called photosensitivity.

“In order to help those with albinism, the Rotary Club of Limbe joined forces with Sainsbury’s in the United Kingdom, specifically the Burpham branch, to provide approximately 500 pairs of glasses to the value of K5 million. This will aid the quality of life of those living with albinism and those unable to afford glasses,” he said.

According to Apam, Malawi has a population of about 10,000 people with albinism.

Since November 2014, there has been a sharp increase in human rights abuses against people with albinism, including abductions, killings.

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