The Albino Foundation (TAP), has organised a one-day sensitisation workshop for teachers and educators on inclusive quality education for children with albinism in Kogi.
Declaring the workshop open, Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Wemi Jones, advised the participants to pay close attention to all aspects of the training to effectively replicate same at the grassroots.
Jones, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Pastor Emmanuel Idenyi, urged the teachers to avoid any form of stigmatisation against children with albinism.
“I encourage you to put in your best and draw these children closer to you; we must avoid stigmatisation by all means,’’ he said.
Mr Damian Ivom, the National Programme Manager of the foundation, said the training was meant to sensitise teachers and educators on how to ensure that children with albinism had access to inclusive quality education.
Ivom defined Albinism as an inherited condition of melanin production resulting in little or no melanin in the skin, hair and eyes.
According to him, melanin is a pigment which helps protect the skin from harmful effects of ultraviolet rays on the skin, adding that skin cancer and low vision remains the major health challenge of persons with the skin disease.
He noted that a survey by the foundation in 2019, found that Kogi had more number of children with albinism and highest number of persons with skin cancer in Nigeria.
“We want to ensure more enrollment of children with albinism in schools and transit from primary to secondary, and to tertiary institution,” Ivom said.
A person with Albinism and member of staff of the foundation, Mr Vincent Okoye, who delivered a lecture on “Myths and Misconceptions About Albinism”, said all the myths and beliefs about albinism were untrue.
“In spite of the challenges of stigmatisation and discrimination in school, especially during my secondary school days, I did not give up; I was determined to succeed by all means.
“I actually knew who I was, I believed my complexion had nothing to do with my mental ability; and with that determination, I turned out to be who I am today,” Okoye said.
He, therefore, urged children with albinism to believe in themselves and be determined to succeed, saying; “albinism is not a curse but a condition”. (NAN)