PWDs Celebrity Of The Week 006:

Constance Onyemaechi Nneka, a person with albinism, and a graduate of Imo State University, English Education Department. In an interview with Inclusive News Network, she gave important insights into her experience and challenges of being a person with albinism.

Do you think your cluster of disability is more privileged than other clusters? Give reasons for your answer.
Persons with Albinism are not more privileged than other clusters, most times we are not even recognized or categorized as persons with Disabilities, whereas persons with albinism have limitations imposed on them by the condition.

So, what are the peculiarities of albinism that qualify it among PWD?
Albinism result into low tolerance for sunlight and low vision. Persons with albinism are unable to stay under the sun for long and have problem with vision.

Kindly enlighten us on the causes of albinism
Albinism is a genetic condition.

What are the specific discriminations that albinism have brought your way?
I was standing by the roadside, in a bid to cross the road, one fateful afternoon and a total stranger was passing by. The next thing he did was to walk up to me and waved his palm over my face, following which he asked me to tell him the number of fingers he has.

In essence, he was making mockery of the seeing ability of me as a person with albinism.

How did your exceptionality affect your growing up?
I grew up knowing I was different from my siblings and other children in the neighborhood. Adults and children never failed to Stare at me whenever I walked by and this made me an introvert without friends. In primary school, I wasn’t performing well because the teachers never really understood and believed I couldn’t see far and I was made to sit at the back with other pupils and this made me hate going to school. My grades became better when I changed school and was made to sit directly in front of the board and at that moment I was very happy and my grades took a drastic change, I began to perform well.

What are the things you have been able to achieve in spite of the disability?
I have been able to complete my Education from primary to tertiary level and also secure a job with an NGO, Network of Disabled Women (NDW). I also learnt some basic ICT skills

Tell us about your love life
No love life, I’m single

Is that a choice, or will you say the condition of albinism contributed to that?
It’s a choice. My last relationship didn’t end well. Albinism has never had any negative impact in my relationship

What are you doing to contribute positively to disability advocacy in Nigeria?
My work experience with a Disability people’s Organisation has widened my understanding of what disability is all about (still learning though) and the challenges persons with disabilities face. In my own quota in contributing, I mentor women and girls with disabilities on the need to be educated, organize seminar on capacity building, and skills empowerment training.

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