By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Not so different from those in most African countries, albinos are perhaps Namibia's last unrecognized disadvantaged community, shunned by society and unable to find jobs. So said the President of the Namibia Association Albino Trust (NAAT) Joseph Ndinomupya in an interview with New Era. According to Ndinomupya, sixteen years after the country attained independence, it is rare to find an albino person employed at any firm or company. He lamented, "They are absent. If it is a question of qualifications, then why don't we find cleaners who are albinos?" The northern regions have about 816 albinos and the majority of them are excluded from the main economic activities, Ndinomu-pya added. Joseph Shigwedha, an albino in his early thirties, revealed that finding a job as an albino is a nightmare. Though he acknowledged the fact that society has now started considering them as human beings, a lot still needs to be done on the job front. He told New Era, "In 2005, my four friends from Oshikuku and I applied for jobs at a certain company in Windhoek. My four friends were hired and I was left out. I feel my condition contributed to this." He appealed to companies not to concentrate on the skin type of the person but rather the ability to perform the job. Modern as the world has become, Ndinomupya recently revealed that reports have been received by NAAT that albino children in rural Namibia are hidden away and not allowed to attend school or socialize in any way due to stigmatization. "We have received complaints from Oshikoto that albino children are isolated in their communities. When visitors come, these children are sent away and sometimes told to go sit behind the house. They are not fully regarded as human beings. This should come to an end as albinos are brilliant people with special caring needs," the president of NAAT said. To counter the myths surrounding this condition, Ndinomupya just concluded a two-week visit to the northern regions to disseminate information to communities especially where most cases of albinism are reported. The association feels that albinos are ill treated. As such, the matter should be attended to with urgency through initiating funding programmes that are aimed at fighting diseases affecting them such as skin cancer. More needs to be done to erase the stigma associated with albinism, he concluded.
2006-06-21 00:00:00 12 years ago