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DR. CHOKSEY ALBINISM FOUNDATION

Background and Activities

The world’s most precious and beautiful children – Children with Albinism – silently suffered

the anguish and pain of being born different for generations in Africa. The world stigmatized

them and society discriminated against them. Many were considered as a curse to the family, others were slaughtered by witchcraft practitioners in a misplaced belief that their bones and body parts have magical powers.

All these years the focus was on the skin: a ‘White’ a child born in a ‘Black’ family, overlooking the fact that involvement of the eyes is the primary challenge and disability that they face in life. The prevalent myth in Africa was that most children with albinism are blind and must study in schools for the blind and visually challenged.

Many were taught in Braille even when they could read and write.

Dr. Choksey Albinism Foundation is a charitable trust established in Kenya with the objective of reaching out to and assisting people, especially children, with albinism. The founder, Dr. Prabha Choksey, is an ophthalmologist with experience of over 40 years of being an eye specialist. Since 2008 she has been offering free ophthalmic services to all people with albinism and has reached over 800 people, mainly children.

Help Never Hurt initiative

• Providing free ophthalmic services and free prescription photochromatic glasses to all persons with albinism.

Prescription glasses are a crucial need for all persons with albinism. In addition to remarkable improvement in vision, they also help in keeping their eyes open and not squint in sunlight, and likewise help in reducing severe photophobia (a version to light which all people with albinism have).

• Dr. Choksey Albinism Foundation is striving to give children with albinism quality education in regular schools.

The Foundation runs a school sponsorship programme for children from poor socio-economic backgrounds, orphans, single parent children and children living with grandparents. The Foundation has so far supported the education of over 150 children out of which 84 have been sponsored in 2016. The Foundation has established the fact that over 95% of the children with albinism do not fall in the category of legal blindness and can study in regular schools with conventional print materials.

• The Foundation financially assists young people in higher education in colleges and universities. Entrepreneurs and those who need support in developing life skills such as music, art and tailoring are also helped. Both the recently crowned Mr. Albinism 2016 Jairus Ongata and Miss Albinism 2016, Loise Lihanda Musimbi, are beneficiaries of Dr. Choksey Albinism Foundation.

• The Foundation facilitates access to sun screens with Sun Protection Factor SPF 30 and above. The skin of people with albinism is extremely sensitive to the ultraviolet radiation of sunlight. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight without skin protection can lead to development of skin cancer.

• Dr. Prabha Choksey is trying to raise awareness about the condition of albinism through the media – newspapers, magazines and television – and has been featured widely in the media in Kenya.

• The core mission of the Dr. Choksey Albinism Foundation is to give a life of honour and dignity to all persons with albinism.

Future Plans

• To reach out to every child with albinism in Kenya and to provide them with prescription photochromatic glasses before the age of 7 years to improve and preserve sight.

• To support quality education in regular schools for all children with albinism from poor socio-economic backgrounds in Kenya.

• Dr Choksey Albinism Foundation has designed visual acuity testing charts. The Foundation aims to provide these charts to all schools in Kenya which can be used by children as young as 12-14 years to record the visual acuity of the whole school. The Foundation also plans to do a major project in future: visual acuity testing for children by children.

• These charts can help to easily differentiate between legal blindness and low vision. The Foundation aspires to help the children with good sight who were wrongly enrolled in blind schools to be readmitted in regular mainstream schools.

• The Foundation aims to build character through education in human values, development of special talents in the field of music, art and ICT, and to mould every child with albinism to become peace ambassadors of Kenya.

• The vision of Dr. Choksey Albinism Foundation is to create a society in which persons with albinism are fully Integrated, appreciated and empowered to realize their full potential.

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