By: Claire Fedele
Today in International Albinism Awareness Day!
In honor of today, we’d love for you to meet Yacinta.
Yacinta has a passion for cooking.
When I first met her, she had finished her formal education and needed a next step. Although the center where she was living had given her protection from the cruel outside world, one that threatened harm because of her albinism, it had also created a barrier between her and any chance of an independent life.
When asked what she wanted to study, Yacinta described all of the traditional food she’d love to learn how to make. Rice. Beans. Pilau. Chapati. Cake.
I remember going to visit her one day at the vocational school where she was sponsored by Shade to attend. Don’t get me wrong, her smile and laughter can light up even the darkest of her circumstances; but the joy on her face as she showed me the food she’d prepared was on a whole new level.
She had confidence. She had pride in herself. She was defying the odds. She was doing what she loved.
She was honored with a certificate and a celebration when she graduated. But her fight was only just beginning.
“No one will come to my hotel if they find out a person with albinism is cooking in our kitchen,” one manager answered to a request for work. Other responses came back equally discriminatory and fearful.
Eventually, a spot opened up at a friend’s restaurant and he agreed to take Yacinta on as a chef. She’s been working there ever since.
She moved off of our ministry base into her own rented room. She bikes back and forth to work every day. She lives an independent life.
If you ever have the chance to meet her, she will greet you with the biggest smile, the warmest hug, and probably a home-cooked meal.
It is because of Yacinta that we fight.
It is because everyone deserves to pursue their dreams and defy the odds, regardless of their skin tone.
#iaad2019 #albinismday #albinism #stillstandingstrong