Celebrating albinism in Samoa

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CELEBRATION AT MAUGAFIAFIA: Members of the Clarence Sebastian Foundation celebrating in Samoa.

CELEBRATION AT MAUGAFIAFIA: Members of the Clarence Sebastian Foundation celebrating in Samoa.

The Clarence Sebastian Foundation (C.S.F) held its Annual General Meeting on the weekend at its headquarters in Maugafiafia. 

It was a time for fellowship and brain storming to reflect on and contemplate what lies ahead for its members and stakeholders.

At the moment, The Clarence Sebastian Foundation is the only operating Centre of its kind for Albinos to the east of New Zealand. 

There are 300 people in Samoa who are albinos – it’s not easy for them in a country where the sun shines most of the time (during the day) and the humidity is stifling. 

The social stigma is pronounced as most Samoans are dark skinned. 

The Clarence Sebastian Foundation Board has a vision to eventually extend its support out to our South Pacific neighbours such as Tahiti, Tonga and Fiji.

Through the Clarence Sebastian Foundation, it has become the Board’s mission and hope to promote awareness in educating families and the community and provide medical support by means of financial aid and research. 

Samoans with albinism have limited access to health resources and information about albinism. 

As a result, their skin is extensively sun damaged by early adulthood and they have no assistance with their vision impairment, which is often within the legally blind range.   

This can then limit their education and career choices and they may find themselves having to work in labour jobs out in the sun, instead of predominately indoor occupations.  

Now entering its fifth year since its inception there are always challenges facing the staff, parents and supporters of the foundation yet support from the community and donors such as the Embassy of Canada, JP Fitness, EFKS Vailele and Bishop Sam Williams make things just that bit more bearable. Here’s hoping for a safe and prosperous year for the Clarence Sebastian Foundation (CSF).

© Samoa Observer 2016

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