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Cameroon Cameroon's Albinos Ask for Greater Attention and Care

Threads pertaining to the Republic of Cameroon


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Big Bossman
YAOUNDÉ - International Albinism Awareness Day on June 13 has been observed in Cameroon, with albinos asking for more government and community care and protection. Those living with this hereditary genetic condition that reduces melanin pigment in skin, hair and eyes, say stigma, violence, superstition and killing have greatly lessened, but abuses have not been eliminated.

One hundred and sixty albinos and their family members assembled at the World Association for Advocacy and Solidarity of Albinos office in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, to mark International Albinism Awareness Day.

Among them is 16-year-old albino Ronald Essi, who said he was abandoned because of his condition.

Essi said he wants to become a police officer to defend his country Cameroon and punish civilians who abuse albinos' rights. He said his mother abandoned him when he was two years old. He said his grandmother resisted family pressure to kill him. He said he has been living in the streets since 2015, when his grandmother died.

Essi said a Catholic priest rescued him from the street and sent him to a school in Yaoundé.

Essi is one of the about 2,200 albinos the government says live in Cameroon.

June 13: International Albinism Awareness Day

Ending the murderous racism against Albinos in Africa
When Moses Swaray stepped onstage to sing “Amazing Grace” in the auditorium of the Unity Conference Centre in Monrovia, Liberia, the audience, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, stood up to applaud; some wiped away tears.

Mr. Swaray, who is living with albinism, beat 11 other finalists to win the 2007 edition of A Star is Born, the national talent hunt organised by the United Nations and the Liberian government.

President Sirleaf warmly embraced Mr. Swaray on stage, calling him “a blessing to our country.”

Mr. Swaray might have been killed as a child had his father heeded the warnings of a close friend to get rid of the infant because albinos have supernatural powers and bring misfortunes to a family.

People living with albinism suffer from abnormal skin pigmentation resulting from a hereditary inability to produce melanin in their skin cells, according to the US National Library of Medicine. Melanin is a dark pigment that is responsible for producing skin, hair and eye colouration. Albinos suffer from vision problems and are susceptible to skin cancer.

While growing up, “some people treated me as less of a human being because they believed I had supernatural powers,” Mr. Swaray told Africa Renewal in an interview. Having relocated to the US some years ago, he is now a highly sought-after gospel artist within the African diaspora community.