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Surviving in midst of myths & misconceptions


Int’l Albinism Awareness Day

By Dr Rashi Mishra

Be it based on gender, religion, language, status, or even skin colour, ‘Discrimination’ is one word that has the potential to shake the world. One cannot control others’ conduct, perception and beliefs, misconceptions about someone or the community, but can wait for awareness. Similarly, Albinism awareness needs to shun the misconceptions around the phenomenon. Albinism is a rare genetic disorder where you are not born with the right amount of melanin pigment in the skin, eyes, and hair. It’s ironic that people buy fairness creams which focus on reducing melanin in the skin, and then there is this discrimination towards Albinism. However, Albinism can affect people of all races and groups. Albinism was never a disease but a genetic condition that people are born with, it is not contagious. As per the studies, on an average, one in every 17,000 to 20.000 people has some albinism. Although despite being a genetic disorder, the phenomenon remains widely misunderstood.

Due to lack of awareness, this disorder has been misunderstood and miscommunicated so far. Every year on 13 June, International Albinism Awareness Day celebrates the rights of human beings born with Albinism and aims to increase awareness and understanding of this genetic condition. In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that called for prevention of discrimination against persons with Albinism. On 18 December, 2014, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 13 June as International Albinism Awareness Day. This disorder is most prevalent in parts of Africa. About one in four people in South Africa have Albinism. It is common in countries like America, China, India, Japan, and Korea.

Social discrimination, improper medical facilities, and lack of proper ambiance at educational institutes are some major hitches faced due to the colour or discolouring. The worst has been to face ‘Stay away from them’. The theme of this year, ‘United in Making Our Voice Heard’, promotes equality, encourages unity and respect for albinism groups around the world. Let’s stop discriminating against them!