People living with albinism often face discrimination and ridicule within their own families and communities.
In a post titled “Specially and wonderfully made,” a Nigerian woman identified as Idowu Mary Ronke, who has albinism shared how she learned to overcome stigmatization and found self-acceptance after years of battling with suicidal thoughts, body-shaming and discrimination. In her narration, Ronke said:
“I’m a kind of person that used to be ashamed of myself for being an Albino, and that’s because of how people always make jest of me by calling me “afin” (albino) and sometimes they will call me “afin o n jeyo” ( albino doesn’t take salt), and that always got me being body-shamed, to the extent that I would be weeping and crying. It got to a point where I thought of taking my life because I felt so discriminated and criticized.”
Unlike many Albinos who face a variety of health issues like sunburn and risk of skin cancers, Ronke said her skin looks fresh and healthy. This she credited to her grandmother, who loved and took good care of her. She shared further:
“My grandma loved and tried all her possible best to take good care of me and my big sis, (of the same skin color) that people always wondered if I do take salt at all, cos of these theories that albinos don’t take salt, and I always take salt, cos I do eat the same food that others eat.
Meanwhile, on the other side, some people would just call me anytime I walk on the street, and they would start appreciating and glorifying God through me, and would even be praying for the person who is taking care of me.”
Ronke also shared an encounter with a lady that further boosted her self-confidence and self esteem. She added:
“There was a day I went to a bank, and the cashier, after depositing my money, asked me about my name, and I told her, and she also asked if I always take salt, and I said yes, she then said “please can you do me a favor” I said yes, and she said “please when you get home, tell the person you stay with, regardless of who the person is, tell him/her, that I said thank him/her for taking care of you, because you are so fresh and clean and beautiful”. I was like, awwwnnn thank you.
Since then I’ve been feeling myself and also proud of myself, because I’m specially made. I want to use this medium to appreciate my late grandma for the cares and maintenance of my skin color and that of my big sis.”