From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Participants and Speaker at the event, Mr Vincent Okoye,
The Albino Foundation has organised a one-day sensitisation workshop for teachers and educators on inclusive quality education for children with Albinism in Kogi.
While declaring the workshop opened, Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Wemi Jones, advised the participants to pay rapt attention to all aspects of the training to effectively cascade 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.
He warned against discrimination of children with albinism, saying they should put in all their best to cascade the training comprehensively at the grassroots.
”I encourage you to put in your best and draw these children closer to you; we must avoid stigmatisation by all means. We must have positive impacts in the lives of these children with albinism”, he said.
The commissioner further advised the teachers to be punctual, hardworking and put in all their best to deliver quality education to the children, saying, ”they are our future”.
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 have access to inclusive quality education.
He 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 in the skin, adding that skin cancer and low vision is the major health challenges of albinism.
He noted that the foundation did a survey in 2019 found out that Kogi has more number of children with albinism, more out of school children and more people with skin cancer patients in Nigeria.
”We want to ensure more enrolment of children with albinism in schools and transit from primary to secondary and to tertiary institution,” he said.
Ivom advised parents who have children with albinism to ensure their enrolment in school, while advising participants to go back to their various schools, local governments and communities to step down the training.
A person with Albinism, Mr Vincent Okoye, a staff of the foundation, who delivered a lecture on ”Myths and Misconceptions About Albinism”, said all the myths and beliefs about albinism were untrue.
”In spite the challenges of stigmatisation and discrimination in schools especially in my secondary, I did not give up, I was determined to succeed by all means.
”I actually know whom I am, I believe my complexion has nothing to do with my mental ability, and.with determination, I came 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”.