Living with Albinism
Education remains one of the most powerful weapons available to man. It presents before man the opportunity to become virtually anything. It opens the doors and the windows of the world of oceans, plants and animals; of geometry, history and anthropology. Education is a universal gift and that is why it remains one of the main hinges upon which the foundation’s vision rests.
It has become the Founder/ CEO’s strong passion to ensure that persons with albinism get the best of education to enable them counterbalance the discrimination that society tends to throw at them. Their unique condition, accompanied by its debilitating eye dysfunction makes it a bit more challenging as they need to exert a greater effort to learn. Worse still, the ignorance of parents, teachers and Special Needs educators who still require a proper understanding on how to handle their cases further frustrates them and shuts them down.
In order to assist and facilitate their learning, the foundation had paid visits to national examination bodies like JAMB, WAEC and NECO to push for extra time, since asking for larger print on examination papers seemed unlikely to yield immediate results. It however doesn’t seem to be fully implemented as many persons with albinism are still lumped with regular students and given the same allotted time. It is therefore expedient to emphasize to persons with albinism and invigilators of examinations that persons with albinism are entitled to the extra time (a time and a half) benefit.
The foundation in partnership with PTDF also succeeded in accessing an educational scholarship grant for a Masters Degree in Chain and Supply Management at the John Goden University, Aberdeen, Scotland, for one of it’s members which was successfully completed in November 2011. The success of it has yielded 10 more currently existing vacancies for persons with albinism qualified for Masters and PHd programs.
Most recently, to the absolute delight of the CEO, educational scholarships were granted to 2 children with albinism from primary to tertiary levels from the Executive Chairman of the ETA-ZUMA GROUP, Dr Innocent Ezuma, who shares equal passion in seeing children go to school
In addition to gaining scholarship grants, the foundation has found it essential to have albinism education awareness workshops as a platform to teach and educate parents, teachers and the general public about the condition. Relevant progress has been recorded with partners such as ESSPIN and the Kaduna State Universal Education Board collaborating to host programs in various Local Governments of the state and beyond. Currently, plans are being made to ensure that such sensitization holds between this moment until July at Zaria, Kaduna main and Enugu.
The National Education Research Development Council recently, in partnership with the foundation, generated a Frequently Asked Questions on Albinism booklet, which has 50 of the most frequently asked questions about albinism. The booklet has been translated into the 3 primary Nigerian languages of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, and is expected to be circulated in schools across the federation. Many of the answers deal with the condition medically, and how it specifically affects the visual abilities of children with albinism and why they need special attention.
It is obvious that the foundation is leaving no stone unturned as it searches for diverse ways of ensuring that persons with albinism get a good quality education. The foundation never hesitates to visit or take on any school authority once it finds out that it’s rules might be injurious to a child with albinism in anyway, be it in the appropriateness of its uniform or its punishment style.
It remains the foundation’s untiring mission to encourage and assist persons with albinism to be bold enough to access all the opportunities that have been and are being made by the organization to enable them attain the zenith of their dreams.