As a Society, we embarked on this journey to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions perpetuating discrimination and stigmatisation that Persons with Albinism go through. Persons with Albinism face myriad of problems including being raised by single parents, low education levels and high poverty levels. The main objective of the event was to create awareness on albinism and offer a platform for Persons with Albinism to showcase their talents. The event’s main theme was Beauty Beyond the Skin. The event also sought to demonstrate that Persons with Albinism can also live and do things just like everyone else. By this, a new story for Persons with Albinism was written in the first ever beauty pageant on albinism, world over.
Thirty (30) contestants showed up for the auditions, where twenty (20) of them were shortlisted to proceed to the main event. They were all in jovial moods with some anxiety showing on their faces as it was their first experience in this new venture. With the kind of catwalks they did, one could easily tell that the experience was new to them. The selected twenty (20) contestants were all super excited for proceeding to the main event. This led to boot camp training.
BOOT CAMP TRAINING
The twenty (20) contestants arrived proud of themselves and fully armed with determination to learn all that it takes to be a professional model. They met with their trainers who took them through a one-week boot camp training. The trainers gave the contestants motivation talks and some guidelines on what was expected, which prepared them for the main event.
During the boot camp, the contestants had one of a lifetime experience which stuck in their minds. They had fun interacting with each other. With this, some of them enhanced their self esteem and interpersonal skills. Their physical muscles grew due to the daily morning exercises they did. The models also got to learn how to conduct themselves in public as professional models.
The Main Event
The main event was full of pomp and color. It started with amazing performances from the models. The first joint performance by the models was, ‘Different Colors One People’. This performance sent a message, to the world, that they are the same as we are. The event was graced by prominent public figures including Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, Cabinet Secretary Phylis Kandie, television (TV) personality Janet Mbugua and great artists among them Bahati, Deno, Makena and Mumbi. The models were all looking glamorous in different categories of attires i.e. creative, professional and dinner attires.
The event had some of the renowned judges (Robert Burale, Deliah Ipupa, Odada Okello and Idah Ngumah) who gave fair results where Mr. Jairus Ong’etta and Miss Loise Lihanda emerged as the first ever Mr & Miss Albinism Kenya 2016 respectively.
The audience was wowed by the creativeness and beauty beyond the skin which Persons with Albinism had displayed. Some admitted that previously, they had no idea of how beautiful and talented Persons with Albinism are. The contestants who didn’t win were still glad to have gone through that experience, since their self-esteem had grown greatly.
This event completely changed the narrative around Persons with Albinism. The world has since looked at Persons with Albinism through a different lens. Color has been added to their lives. Fathers of children with albinism will stop abandoning their children after birth since they will be aware what albinism is all about. The girls will be seen as beautiful and they will get very prospective gentlemen to marry them and vice versa. Persons with Albinism will get to know that they are valuable and they will be walking heads held high. Ritual killings of Persons with Albinism will stop as people are now aware that it is a fallacy and inhuman to do so. Society will now accept Persons with Albinism just the way they are and they will have equal opportunities like everyone else. Students with albinism will now have the confidence of sitting down in class and do their best.