U.S. Ambassador Spotlights Advocacy for Persons with Albinism

KIGALI (Sunday, June 13, 2021) — U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter H. Vrooman recognized International Albinism Awareness Day today with a series of events this weekend to highlight issues faced by persons with albinism and the advocacy role of the Organization for Integration and Promotion of People with Albinism (OIPPA).

On Saturday, Ambassador Vrooman handed over 150 boxes of food for families of persons with albinism, which OIPPA delivered to 65 families in Kigali, 45 families in Musanze, and 40 families in Rutsiro. The made-in-Rwanda food boxes were prepared by GET IT, a leading commercial food distribution company in Kigali and a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Rwanda. The food box donation was a way to celebrate persons with albinism with a larger community while mindful of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ambassador Vrooman also hosted a small lunch with development partners and civil society organizations advocating for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities throughout Rwanda.

“The absence or presence of pigmentation or melanin can be a source of stigma in many socieites, including my own,” Ambassador Vrooman said. “Here in Rwanda, there are many courageous people who are standing up to stigma and discrimination.”

In 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in proclaiming each June 13 as International Albinism Awareness Day. The theme this year is “Strength Beyond All Odds.” The theme was chosen to highlight the achievements of people with albinism around the world, show that people with albinism can defy all odds, celebrate how people with albinism worldwide meet and exceed expectations in all domains of life, and encourage everyone during this time of a global pandemic to join the global effort to #BuildBackBetter.

According to executive director Nicodeme Hakizimana, the vision of OIPPA is to promote the integration and social economic participation of people with albinism in Rwanda by reinforcing their capacities and building their autonomy.

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