Kenya takes on the issue which many have been shying away from -Albinism; and what better way can you think of to face such a controversial genetic disorder, than organizing a pageant for albinos.
The Albinism Society of Kenya (ASK) organised the country’s first Mr and Miss Albinism Pageant held this October. The main objective of the pageant according to the association, is to show the beauty in persons living with albinism as well as to do away with the stigma associated with the medical condition.
Mr & Miss Albinism Kenya 2016, which marked the 10th anniversary of the ASK, moved a great number of young albinos into the limelight after a first round of auditions held on September 24 in Nairobi. After a successful audition as well as entry stages, the pageant took place on 21st October at Carnivore Simba Saloon in Nairobi.
Dozens of albinos took part in the unique pageant, as they sought to become the awareness ambassador for children with albinism. The contestants cat-walked in professional outfits, like that of a fisherman, soldier and rugby player, to show that they too can be part of the country’s workforce. At the end of the final segment, Jairus Jzay and Loise Lihanda were crowned winners of the contest.
In several countries in Southern and Eastern Africa, people with albinism are often stigmatized. In countries such as Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania and Mozambique, people go as far as hunting them down in a bid to use their body parts which is believed to bring wealth and luck for rituals. There are also obnoxious beliefs in some parts that having sexual relations with an albino cures HIV and AIDS.
But Kenya, through the Miss and Miss Albinism pageant, is hoping to change the perception of albinos. The pageant seeks to create awareness for the acceptance of persons with albinism in the society.
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