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“I feel if I have the crown people will listen to me,” she said before the final judging.“If I have the crown, I can go to my governor and tell him, ‘I‘m Miss Albinism Kenya,’ and ask him questions: ‘What are you doing for people with albinism in this county? “I’ll just concentrate on high fashion from now,” she said, her face stained with tears and glitter.
In many countries, their body parts are believed to bring wealth and good luck and are prized in witchcraft for use in charms and magical potions.
But success abroad doesn’t match her treatment at home.
“Recently the judges told me, ‘You can never be a model,'” she said.
In the past decades, this rare genetic condition was almost equivalent to a death sentence.
People with albinism were persecuted, mutilated and killed. She can’t find a job and is afraid to go out alone at night.
But he said the beauty pageant brought to life something he had long yearned for. That’s when I remember, ‘Oh, I‘m different.'” After the pageant, Ngatia was upbeat about taking the first runner-up position and magnanimous in defeat.
“I feel nice, even though I didn’t get Mr Albinism – I don’t have any grudge with my friend (winner Jairus Ongetta).
At 28, the contest’s oldest male competitor, John Ngatia, has a boyish charm and a refusal to acknowledge limitations.
Married with a five-month-old son, Ngatia has achieved something that eludes many Kenyans – he has a permanent job, working for Kenya’s Water Resource Management Authority. I can even teach people how to catwalk.” Ngatia said his successes in life had a lot to do with attitude. Sometimes I even forget I‘m a person with albinism, unless a person starts reacting differently.
“Even when I was dating, it was difficult for girls to say I‘m handsome,” said Isaac Mwaura, Kenya’s first parliamentarian with albinism and founder of the Albinism Society of Kenya, which organized the pageant.
“I knew I was handsome (but) people with albinism are seen as not beautiful, as not good-looking, and that has an effect on their self esteem,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
I‘m making jokes with him.” Pageant organizer Mwaura wasn’t worried the event risked damaging already delicate self-esteem.