Giving hope to people with albinism, Activist goes 640km on a motorbike

Uganda is still grappling with COVID-19 like any other country in the world. We have over 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to the Ministry of Health Uganda, since the outbreak of the Virus, things have never been the same for people living with disabilities and in the past years, nothing has brought all stakeholders together like in this time of the pandemic.

So many people living with disabilities especially Albinos have been much affected by this pandemic with physical, mental and emotional.

In addition, with their conditions, they have experienced stigma and discrimination, and they have been struggling with challenges before the lockdown like is the low vision, sun damage which sometimes results in skin cancer. Persons with albinism often have yellowish, white hair and skin, and It is a genetic condition that leads to little or no pigment in the eyes, skin and hair

In the lockdown, we caught up with an activist who has so far delivered 200 free sunscreens using a bike. An activist on issues regarding albinism, Pat Robert Larubi is also a volunteer communication assistant with Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism has taken on a challenge to deliver sunscreen to a number of people with albinism across the country.

He says, “Most people with albinism do not know where to find sunscreen and even when they have an opportunity to find them they are quite expensive.

Activist Pat Robert on the ride pose for a photo with Peter

However, Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism with support from Advantage Africa a UK based charity hard secured a lot of sunscreens to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, due to the ban on public transport in a bid to curb the spread of Coronavirus, most people had been locked up at home with limited movements.

It is against this background that, Pat Robert Larubi thought it wise to break through the barrier of public transportation, thus using his bike to deliver sunscreen to those in dare need.

“I started off my journey from Jinja through Lugazi, Kayunga, Mukono and Kampala – Wakiso. To a long stretch from Kampala to luwero where I made my first stopover and delivered sunscreen to PWA under Greater Luwero albinos Association then off to kamdini, through Kole, Omoro and finally to Gulu” – Pat Robert said during the phone conversation

The majority of the Albinos cannot afford it. All we have done is delivered and given them for free so they can continue to enjoy their lives just like you and me” Peter Ogik, the CEO source of the Nile Union of Persons with albinism revealed that this is a campaign to save lives, create awareness and build support for persons with albinism.

 “For us, people with albinism sunscreen are like our lifestream, we can hardly survive without it especially here in Africa where the sun is very hot and likely to damage our skin that lacks pigmentation. Our first line of action was to make the sunscreen readily available” Peter said.  

You can follow his country tour via these hashtags #Action4Albinism #AlbinismNow

Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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