EDWIIN PLANS ALBINISM AWARENESS PROJECT
By Nsikan Ikpe
The Empathy Driven Women International Initiative Nigeria, EDWIIN, a non-governmental organisation that is committed to raising awareness about, and finding solutions to the plight of people and women living with disabilities in society, is set to host its second medical aid outreach, an Albinism Awareness Project, on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
Tagged the EDWIIN UVCare Project, specific activities designed to take place on the day include medical consultations, albinism awareness talks, music, drama and the very first denim fashion runway featuring an all-Albino cast. There would also be eye-tests even as glasses, sunscreens, umbrella sun hats and sunglasses would be given out to participants that require same. The event is also being held ahead of the return to school by students and children.
It is also billed to involve optometrists and dermatologists and some of the signed-on partners include The Palms, Lekki and Shoprite, the Lagos Albinism Awareness Society, OAM, The Eye Doctors, Visions, the Dermatology Society of Nigeria, The Game, The Punch, Vanguard, April Benjamin and Dawn, the record label, DSR and the artist, Bright Ocean. Others are the Albinism Cluster, SECO, CPR, Effervescent, Fidelity Bank, DSR and LOLA OJ.
A statement from EDWIIN Founder, Uri Ngozichukwuka outlined that the great volunteering team of EDWIIN will be on hand at the event and everyone is encouraged to come in the EDWIIN traditional service gear of denim and white top.
She added further:
‘The main purpose is to drive the campaign for inclusion. It is to stop unfounded myths about albinos which causes them pain and sometimes drives them to suicide. It is to change and control negative narratives and stop acts of discrimination.’
Ahead of the UVCare programme, EDWIIN has also scheduled to hold a companion awareness-raising art exhibition on August 28 with the theme, The Art of Inclusion, and it is billed to take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to the EDWIIN Founder, the motivation for putting together the exhibition is to generate social and corporate support for the establishment of the EDWIIN ABILITY SPACE, an integrated centre for social development and advancement that allows persons with other abilities to interact and acquire skills, and for the general public to also come in and get information on issues of social responsibility and social development. The proposed centre is also to be fitted with ability friendly technology.
A first in the life of EDWIIN, the star artist of the exhibition is the novelist and pen and ink maestro, Austin Inyang. Another artist that will be exhibiting is the denim enthusiast, Bright Ocean.
The UVCARE event is EDWIIN’s second medical outreach event. The first was targeted at Women Living with Disabilities and was held on March 8, to mark the United Nations International Women’s Day.
Albinism is a genetic disorder that affects the skin hair and eyes and comes with social stigma due to lack of knowledge. It is classified as a disability because of the social barriers that are associated with it. The United Nations has declared June 13th as Albinism Awareness Day and the project is in line with the Social Development Goals, SDGs.
Overall, the plight of People living with albinism (PWAs) begins from infancy. It is a subject of stigmatisation and discrimination with many PWAs facing a dangerous, difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation.
Some of these constraints include family rejection leading to loneliness and sometimes attempted suicides, peer group dissociation, classroom harassment, derogatory societal name tags in different languages, different negative cultural or traditional beliefs, societal misconceptions or myths about PWA, marital challenges and workplace discrimination.
These have really affected thousands of PWAs with resultant effects such as low self-esteem, dropping out of school, unemployment, depression and isolation.
Correspondingly, the work being done by EDWIIN in the social inclusion space is attracting a lot of notice. In the past few months for example, the fledgling organisation has garnered a whooping five awards in its kitty. Uri Ngozichukwuka thanks God for it and also adds that the organisation is indeed primed to even do more on the social inclusion space going forward:
‘EDWIIN is breaking with convention, exploring new forms of social interaction, and social development as well as redefining the corporate social responsibility space. We are a hands-on and activity-driven charity,’ she underscored.