The head of the UK’s Department for International Development in Kenya. Sarah Montgomery, was among the guests at Friday’s inaugural Mr and Miss Albinism East Africa pageant at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
30 participants took place in the competition which was organised by the Albinism Society of Kenya with partners in Uganda and Tanzania. The winners of Mr and Miss Albinism will get cash prizes and act as ambassadors for the partner organizations for a year.
Commenting on the event, Ms Montgomery said that people with albinism face stigma and discrimination and the competition was important in challenging this.
— Sarah Montgomery (@SEMontgomery) November 30, 2018
According to the United Nations, albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition that leads to a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.
Congratulations to the newly crowned Mr&Miss Albinism East Africa 2018. Well done @AlbinismSociety for fighting stigma and discrimination against People with Albinism by promoting awareness & celebrating inner beauty. #BeautyBeyondTheSkin #NikubaliNijumuishe #MrAndMissAlbinismEA pic.twitter.com/lDh4APKPU3
— Hon. Esther M Passaris (@EstherPassaris) December 1, 2018
Event organiser Isaac Mwaura, Kenya’s first albino legislator, said the pageant was a way to build self-esteem: ‘People with albinism are people like any other, and for sure we are also beautiful.’
20-year-old Tanzanian Emmanuel Silas Shedrack and 19-year-old Maryanne Muigai from Kenya were crowned the winners on the night.