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Bryan Adams Foundation donates to Albinos in SVG

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by Aria Laidlow 22.MAR.11

Albinism is the lack of or total absence of pigmentation. Persons with albinism can be visibly described as persons with pale complexion and blonde hair. Here, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there are many persons with albinism.{{more}} However, society has labeled these people as not being equal, beautiful nor normal and this has led to great discrimination towards albinos. It has led to them being seen as outcasts and they are often forced to shy away from society, due to hurtful verbal and nonverbal discrimination.

Most albinos here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are so sunken emotionally by the many harsh comments, that they do not do as they should to take good care of their skin, eyes and hair. Due to the extreme lightness in complexion, it is very easy for persons with albinism to get sunburnt, which if it occurs often, can lead to sunspots, extreme dryness and redness of the skin and even skin cancer. Proper education, guidance and a wealth of knowledge must be acquired so that persons with albinism would know how to take care of themselves.

Susie Schaffer, owner of Island Life Boutique in Bequia, has taken a great interest in persons with albinism on the island of Bequia. She has great concern about the way they take care of their skin and often stresses the importance of doing so.

Susie’s concern was heard by the Bryan Adams Foundation

They donated great quality sunglasses and sunblock for the local albinos.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, a number of the island’s albinos gathered at Island Style to be presented with the sunblock and glasses. They were also joined by Parliamentary Representative for the Northern Grenadines Dr. Godwin Friday.

Aria Laidlow, one of the island’s albinos, gave some advice to the small gathering on how to manage and take good care of the skin and eyes. She also talked about some of the emotional times she had gone through during childhood and how she dealt with it. “It is so important for parents who have children with albinism to show them as much love as possible, so it would help foster self-confidence and high self-esteem.” She stressed how important it was to use sunblock and wear appropriate clothing when going in the sun. “I have never let my complexion keep me back from being who I am and from going anywhere and looking as beautiful as I know I am.” Aria gave sound advice and words of encouragement, especially to those who were teenagers.

Susie Schaffer highlighted that it is the public’s lack of knowledge and education why they say such derogatory things to albinos.

“People with albinism are perfectly normal; there is nothing wrong with them” she stated.

Albinos have and always will be a part of our society. They do not possess some communicable disease; they are not unequal; they are normal human beings with emotions, hopes and dreams like everyone else. “We have come too far as a nation to engage in such discrimination amongst our own people. We may only be a minority, but discrimination hurts… is ok to be DIFFERENT!!”