What has been happening
In leaving no child behind regardless of status, challenges and gender among others, the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Education recently joined the rest of the world in celebrating albino students in both primary and secondary schools during the Annual International Albinism Awareness Day held at Adeyemi Bero Hall, Alausa Ikeja. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Abosede Adelaja stated that the difference between an albino and a non-albino student is their skin colour. In other words, they are normal human beings and not mysterious as wrongly opined by many people. In her words, “You are special and unique and can be whatever you desire to be in life. Therefore, do not look down on yourself by wallowing in self-pity, rather be bold and choose a good career for yourself “. She further counselled them that they should take their education seriously and see themselves as angels among men who could do everything other people in the society can do. An Optometrist who is the CEO of Classy Optical Ltd, Dr. Eddy Onyinyechi spoke on the sensitization campaign against stigmatization of persons with albinism in the society. Role of stakeholders observed that the skin colour in albinism is as a result of lack of melanin pigment which brings about unusual physical appearance, poor vision and freckled skin all of which expose them to stigmatization. Dr. Eddy affirmed that the stigmatization is as a result of poor understanding of albinism. According to her, four things can help in reducing stigmatization of albinos. They are: Ø People with Albinism (PWA) should be knowledgeable enough to educate others about Albinism ; Ø PWA should value themselves and strive to be relevant in the society ; Ø High ranking PWA should be involved in awareness campaigns and lastly, Ø The media should help in the sensitization. The second speaker, Mrs. Josephine Omolola who doubles as the Lagos State Coordinator of the Albinos Foundation and Chairperson of Albinism Awareness Society revealed that Albinos can eat salt but should avoid sunlight between the hours of 9am and 4pm. She therefore advised teachers present to study and get familiar with the emotional status of the albino students. As examples, albino students should be strategically placed close to the board and more time should be allocated to them during examinations.