Jake Epelle believes that Nigerians who have albinism are on the verge of overcoming the age-old social stigma and inequalities, thanks to the advocacy efforts of the United Nations and of his organization, which works to empower persons who have albinism and educate society on albinism related issues in Nigeria and around the world.
I was born on May 5th, 1961, and I grew up in a polygamous household that was very large but not particularly unusual. Throughout this time, I was unaware that I was born with albinism. My early upbringing was marked by mocking and taunting from both family members and friends from my youth as well as classmates and other students at school. On the other side, I was able to find comfort in the company of my biological father and stepmother, both of whom doted on me and showed me an overwhelming amount of love and concern.
I went to public schools and, yes, I did have trouble seeing the chalkboard. In order to view it, I had to get up close to it, which put me in the path of bullying, including taunting, nasty name calling, and even, on occasion, insults and attacks from students and instructors alike.
I had no idea that I was born with albinism or that the sun has harmful effects on everyone else who has albinism; as a result, I used to work and play outside without any protection from the sun. Because of this, I became sunburned, which led to the development of freckles and spots that showed early indicators of skin cancer.
My teenage years were something of a roller coaster ride for me, as I encountered both the wonderful and terrible aspects of life during that time. In spite of the fact that these obstacles appeared to be insurmountable, I did not let them deter me from continuing to strive for success in all of my endeavors.
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