The first ever Mr. and Miss Albinism pageant in Kenya took place on Friday 21st October 2016 at Carnivore’s Simba Salon. The spectacular event was organized by the Albinism Society of Kenya (ASK) with the aim of fighting stigma and to redefine how persons living with albinism are viewed in the society.
The rare occasion saw Jairus Ongeta and Loise Lihanda crowned the Mr. and Miss albinism Kenya respectively. The two won the titles among 20 other contestants drawn from the 47 counties.
Mr. Jairus Ongeta is a 20 year old student of music at Kenyatta University while Miss Loise Lihanda is also a 20 year old student at Multimedia University. Both emerged winners for their creativity, boldness and courage.
A very excited Loise after receiving the crown said the following to the media:
“I am happy to be crowned the overall winner. I will use the title to create awareness on albinism in the country”
The male model of the day also was not left behind:
“This award means a lot because I now have a platform to create awareness on albinism. I hope to inspire children living with albinism that they too can achieve their dreams”
The event was part of the campaign to enlighten the society about people living with albinism and giving them that social acceptance.
It ran under the banner ‘Beauty beyond skin’ that was also involved a major charity activity which aimed at raising money for a number of programs undertaken by the organization such as: the Imarisha masomo, Miwani mashinani, Linda Ngozi and cancer treatment and counselling.
Dignitaries who graced the event included the deputy president William Ruto who appreciated the effort to run such a useful campaign and gave the government’s commitment towards supporting people living with albinism saying President Kenyatta and himself will personally contribute one million shillings each to ASK, he also added that
“The government will pay sh. 37,000 for every child who has albinism to cater for their primary school education. We will also pay sh. 70,000 every year for every child with albinism for their an undergraduate programme”
He also added that:
We have a programme for people with albinism as we want them to participate in nation building. pic.twitter.com/VJvukTZpUe
— William Samoei Ruto (@WilliamsRuto) October 22, 2016
The founder of Albinism Society of Kenya, Hon. Isaac Mwaura who is himself a victim said the event was timely and aimed at creating awareness and showcasing the beauty and talent of persons with albinism. He said;
“People do not think that people with albinism are not beautiful, so such women even struggle to get married. We want to redefine our narrative and show that we have something to offer the society”
Congratulations to Mr and Miss Albinism 2016!