By Kosiso Onyibalu
The joy of the family of Mr. & Mrs. Udochukwu Happiness Egwuonwu knew no bounds recently when a Nigeria-based Albino Foundation, Onome Akinlolu Majaro, OAM, Foundation, gave a scholarship to their eight-year-old daughter, Divine Egwuonwu who is also living with albinism.
It was like a dream come true for her mother, Happiness. This is because a financial part of the burden of caring for a child living with albinism has been lifted off her shoulders.
According to her, having an albino child was not of any surprise to her because it runs in their family but taking care of an albino child is the challenge due to the economic situation of the country.
Narrating her ordeal, Happiness said since the birth of Divine, taking care of her has not been easy as her needs are mostly different from her siblings’.
“As parents of an albino child, you should be ready to spend a lot of time and money on the child. This is because they are different from the others; their cream, soap everything is different and a lot more expensive than other kids.
“For instance, she had been using glasses even before OAM Foundation handed her over another pair of medicated glasses. But the first one she was given didn’t seem to have an effect on her, but the one that was given to her by the Foundation seems to have a little more effect on her compared to the first one.”
She expressed happiness over the scholarship, adding that it would help her family in no small measure.
Speaking during the formal presentation of the scholarship in Lagos, recently, little Divine who attends Young Nation Primary School Ago, Isolo, Lagos said she wants to study hard to become a doctor in order to take care of other children. Expressing her gratitude to the Foundation, she said: “I want to become a doctor to take care of my parents and other children out there who might be passing through some health challenges like me. I was also one of the beneficiaries of the OAM free medicated glass project.”
Speaking, OAM Foundation Ambassador who is also in charge of Logistics, Ugochukwu Orji, said the Foundation aimed at ending stigmatisation and misconception about persons living with albinism as well as improve the well-being of albinos.
He said the scholarship to Divine, was one of the things OAM Foundation stands for. “And in the case of Divine, we see her as a talented young girl who has been featured in a short movie, Beyond the complexion and she has proven to be a talented child, and that is why the foundation has taken interest in her and intends to see her through her education.
Orji said: “Another reason why Divine was picked was when the foundation gathered her parents were having difficulties in taking care of her education and the board looked into her case and decided not to allow such a young talent waste, that was why we decided to take it upon ourselves as one of our humanitarian works to ensure that the child is useful to the society.”
He called on well-meaning Nigerians and government at all levels to support the Foundation.