THE Albino Charity Organisation of Zimbabwe (ALCOZ) has intensified its fight against drug and substance abuse and raising awareness on how the scourge is affecting people living with albinism.
The organisation was moving around the Harare Central Business District raising awareness over the weekend.
ALCOZ founder, Loveness Mainato, who was leading the awareness campaign, shared how this initiative came to be and how people with albinism are affected.
“President Mnangagwa made it the nation’s mandate to fight drug and substance abuse, it’s what inspired today’s campaign and persons with albinism were not be spared because just like everyone else in the society, they also fall victim to drug and substance abuse and its effects,” said Mainato.
Wellington Gwenzi, a young Chitungwiza resident with albinism, who was part of the campaign, spoke on the issue of drug abuse and highlighted how it carries a plethora of health risks for people with albinism.
“Drug abuse is harmful to one’s health, it can cause random illnesses or even severe ones such as cancer and for persons with albinism, the skin is the most affected because it is sensitive to the smallest changes in terms of lifestyle habits like what you eat and drink on a daily basis.
“What we could possibly do as young people to combat this menace is to trace the drugs back to the source and, with the help of the police, get the peddlers apprehended and sent to prison,” he said.
Racheal Madaka, a mother with albinism who had attended the campaign, shared her sentiments over how heartbroken she was to see a generation of bright young people go to waste all because of drug abuse.
“My heart aches as a mother when l see young people abusing drugs and substances but what l can only do is to urge them to refrain from such hideous practices and shift their focus on their education or work.
“On the issue of work, the government and other organisations should empower these youths with income generating projects that help them sustain themselves while at the same time keeping them occupied and away from drugs,” she said.
During the campaign, an interview with Beauty Chikuku, who has albinism, revealed that young women and girls, who abuse illicit drugs and substances, are susceptible to unwanted pregnancies as well as to becoming school dropouts.
“When girls and young women start abusing these illicit drugs and substances it carries huge consequences such as unwanted pregnancies and they eventually drop out of school.
“I think the government sensitises young women, girls and boys on the issue of drug abuse and its effects on their health and future, this can be done in schools or through monthly workshops where they have any opportunity to voice out their opinion and challenges,” said Chikuku.