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The Agony of Albinos in Cameroon
Albinos continue to suffer discrimination, unemployment and abuse
Richard Mbitohnyui Nchafe (chafeh2200)     Print Article 
Published 2005-11-09 14:45 (KST)   
The agony albinos in Cameroon endure due social discrimination toward their condition is sometimes worse than their eye and skin problems. In some African countries, albinos were killed at birth for they believed that albinism is a curse from God or unhappy ancestors. Although the situation has changed some, they still find it difficult to fit in with everyday life.

Science shows albinism is not a disease but an abnormality that results from the absence of a black pigment called melanin present in all humans and many animals.

Some of these people drop out of school due to the rough treatment they receive from their fellow schoolmates. Compounded with that, eye problems discourage further studies. The greatest difficulty of all, even for those who struggled to attend a university, is finding a job at all.

Last year, the 7th International Congress of Albinos was held in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. It called for social justice, equality and affirmative action to accelerate the integration of albinos with society. It was organized by the Worldwide Association for the Defense of the Interest and the Solidarity of Albinos (ASMODISA).

Participant Natalia Mbatcham said, "Most of us have been eliminated from several public examinations, even in marriage and love, most men who seek us for love are adventurers who want to tell the public how we look like in bed."

The national president of albinos, Jean Jacques Ndoudoumou, insisted, "This situation must change in the interest of stability and progress. Albinos like the rest of humanity are created by God and have the right to live, work, vote, contribute to community development and enjoy any other privilege in every society."

In Zimbabwe, albinos are not only treated as lepers, there is a rise in the rape of albino women in the belief that if a HIV positive man sleeps with an albino woman, he is automatically cured.

Meanwhile, in Botswana, albinism is considered a medical condition and is covered under the government medical plan. Wilbis Nyathi, a research scientist with a background in chemical engineering who intended to form an association for albinos called the Botswana Albino Society Welfare Organization (BASWO), said unlike other countries where albinos are regarded as strange creatures, Botswana has generally treated albinos with positive attitude.

"I have never seen a spirit like this anywhere in the world and this is because Botswana is a democratic and united nation whose principles are based on Christianity," Nyathi said.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Richard Mbitohnyui Nchafe

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