By Joyce Mukucha
In a way of supporting parents of children with albinism, the Promotion of Health, Opportunity Equality, Benevolence and Empowerment for Black and Ethnic Minority (PHOEBE) a non-governmental organisation based in the United Kingdom donated sunscreen lotions to the Zimbabwe Albino Association (ZIMAS) to cater for children who are in such condition.
Many children with albinism in Zimbabwe are facing challenges in as much as accessing the lotions is concerned. The donation took place on the 20th of February 2018 in Harare.
Speaking to parents during the handover of the lotions, Mollin Delve, the Chief Executive Officer for PHOEBE said they had seen it necessary to assist ZIMAS in supporting children with albinism.
“As PHOBE, we are committed to helping children with albinism who are based in Zimbabwe. That is why we have donated these creams to ZIMAS so that they can help these children. Every year, we make sure that we bring the creams to the country,” she said.
Mrs Delve said the other organisation’s main focus is empowering women who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. It caters for people with disabilities.
Mercy Maunganidze, the Director of the Zimbabwe Albino Association who is also the National Disability Board Chairperson expressed her gratitude towards the donation her organisation had received from PHOEBE.
“We are very thankful today with the donation we received from PHOEBE. This donation will go a long way in helping children with albinism in terms of their skin. The creams are very important for them because it protects their skin from direct sunlight and it also reduces the development of skin cancer to people with this condition, ”Maunganidze said.
ZIMAS is appealing for other well-wishers to come and give a hand in availing sunscreen lotions for people with albinism. She indicated that PHOEBE is concerned about improving and developing the lives of parents with albinism together with their children.
“People with albinism in Zimbabwe face challenges when they want the creams but PHOBE is doing its best to support us in helping these people especially children. Taking a closer look from previous donations, I can say that PHOEBE always stood with us. They once donated sewing and knitting machines to mothers of children with albinism to sustain themselves. Their organisation mostly deals with children and women and this can be witnessed through a great job which they are doing in our country. We say thank you to Mrs Delve from PHOEBE this is wonderful,” said Maunganidze.
Mrs Maunganidze added that most of these children come from broken homes. This is because albinism was regarded as a disease related with superstitions and it was causing many divorces when a child is born with albinism.
“The mothers are being left with their husbands to carry the burden. So with the support they receive through these donations it will help them to cater and sustain the family on their own since the burden would have been lightened. By the courtesy of PHOEBE their lives are being empowered,” she said.
Patience Nyarukokora, one of the parents who received the lotions, said looking at the economic situation in Zimbabwe, it was difficult for her to access the lotions since they are expensive.
“Sometimes I don’t afford to buy the creams and this donation is very important to us. If you have children with albinism people in the society discriminate you but l was very relieved knowing that there are people out there who care for each other’s well-being,” said Nyarukokora.
Nyarukokora urged PHOEBE not only to focus on people in Zimbabwe but extend the gesture to everyone else who may need their help.
The Zimbabwe Albino Association is national organisation formed on the 3rd of November 1996 to remove from society the traditional based stigma and its related consequences on the person with albinism in all spheres of human activity. The primary objective of ZIMAS is to identify the specific needs of people with albinism and find way and means of raising adequate resources to either provide for some of these needs or to assist people with albinism get access to facilities that will enable them to meet their own needs.