Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A HWANGE-BASED charity organisation has come to the rescue of more than 30 people with albinism in the coal mining town who said they had been struggling to buy sunscreen lotions.
People with albinism use special types of lotions to protect themselves from skin reactions caused by heat and sunlight.
In Hwange some get the lotions, sunhats and sunglasses from well-wishers and donors including tourists because the special products are generally expensive in shops and beyond reach of many.
The prevailing Covid-19-induced lockdown has left many without access to the products, thereby exposing them to health risks.
AAS Foundation run by brothers Messrs Athanasius and Anthony Sibanda donated an assortment of sunscreen lotions to 34 people with albinism in Hwange town to cushion them during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Women also received a sanitary package with 16 pads.
The beneficiaries paid tribute to the organisation for coming to their rescue.
“I really appreciate this gesture. This means a lot to us and will go a long way as we had nowhere to get these items. Sunscreen is very critical especially now that we are in the hot season,” said Mr Phillip Kasanga (67) from Hwange.
He called for non-discrimination of people with albinism.
“There is so much we can do as people living with disability. Some people may look down upon us but we should thank God because we are special, many of us have skills that can also be useful to society and to enable us to take care of ourselves,” said Mr Kasanga.
Ms Sithandazile Gumbo (30) also from Hwange said she had been struggling to get sunscreen lotion.
“I have been struggling to get sunscreen lotion for many months now because there was no one to help me. We also need sunglasses and sunhats because the sun is hot which affects our eyesight,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Mr Daniel Marshal from Railways section also in Hwange who thanked AAS Foundation for considering the plight of people with albinism.
Handing over the donation in Hwange, AAS Foundation co-director Mr Athanasius Sibanda said they will be extending the gesture to other parts of the province.
“We were inspired by passion and love for people with albinism as it seems they are marginalised in the society. Few people have been giving an eye to them during the lockdown hence we thought of giving them sunscreen lotions and sanitary pads.
“About 34 people with albinism benefited in Hwange and we expect to give more across Matabeleland North province. Each person was getting a set of three lotions while females also got a packet of 16 sanitary pads,” said Mr Sibanda.
The organisation has also on two occasions cushioned former Hwange Football Club legends with food hampers during the lockdown.
Abangane-Shamwari Disabled Persons Development Organisation director Ms Senzelwe Jubane appealed to well-wishers to assist people with albinism.
“We want to appeal to well-wishers and organisations to continue helping people with albinism because these products are expensive. We also appeal for equalisation of employment for people with disabilities so that they are able to fend for themselves,” she said.
A 150ml bottle of sunscreen lotion costs about US$10. — @ncubeleon