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December 14, 2018

Albinism awards fetes duo, champions dignity

Oreen Wakhulunya and Maryanne Mungai were crowned Mr and Miss Albinism Kenya on Friday.

Oreen, a student at Moi University, says he will use his title to create awareness about persons living with disability.

"I'm planning to use my title and talents of singing, rapping and dancing to reach out to many people with albinism and other disabilities in the society," he told Word Is yesterday.

"We are fighting to see that we bring the required dignity for persons with albinism and those with other disabilities."

Maryanne, a student at Rift Valley Institute, says her title will help encourage other people living with albinism to come out and accept themselves.

"I want to teach the society more about people living with albinism and still hoping that I'll work with my fellow contestants in coming up with projects that will create awareness and help people living with albinism establish themselves," she said.

Oreen says he comes from a family of 11 children, and four of them have albinism.

"People seeing me as different and inferior is the biggest challenge I have faced because of my condition. And the worst thing someone has ever said about albinism that hurt me most is that albinism is a curse," he said.

For Maryanne, her biggest problem is with a myth that has seen their kind killed in other countries. "There is a belief in a stupid myth that we can make people become rich," she said.

The two winners' message to the society is that people with albinism have abilities like any other person, and lacking melanin in the skin is just a way God used to make the world beautiful.

The competition for 30 participants was organised by the Albinism Society of Kenya with partners in Uganda and Tanzania, with the aim of overcoming stigma. It was titled “Accept me, include me, I can”.

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura said: "The key objectives of this year's pageant is to create awareness across the region and the world on factual aspects of albinism, to end prejudice, social oppression and discrimination against persons with albinism, to expose the contestants to the vast opportunities existent across the world through this platform.

Adding: "Being the host and the organising society, the objectives of Albinism society of Kenya will also be implemented through this regional modelling platform."

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