Lilongwe — Association of persons with albinism will hold Mr and Miss albinism beauty pageant and talent show on September 7 this year in Lilongwe.
Speaking with Malawi news agency (Mana) head of programmes and events organising committee focal person Mike Kanyenda said the beauty pageant will be held under the theme "We are just like you."
"Persons with albinism will showcase their hidden talents and gain personal recognition and development, self-confidence, inter-personal and intrapersonal communication skills, stress management skills, personal grooming skills and exposure," Kanyenda said.
He said the grand prize is K2 million and other winners will go home with laptops, sophisticated phones, and other consolation prizes.
Kanyenda further said the event has been organised in response to the recent attacks against persons with albinism (PWA) in the country leading to severe trauma to victims and their families.
"PWAs remain the target of serious human rights violations that include merciless killings, tomb exhumations, abductions, stigma and discrimination in the country and beyond," Kanyenda said.
He said the event aims at demystifying PWAs and affirm their inherent dignity while challenging myths, misconceptions and negative beliefs associated with albinism.
"The contest is not just a pageant but a way to raise awareness and inclusion of people with albinism who are profoundly misunderstood in our communities.
The condition is associated with myths and superstition deeply entrenched in cultural beliefs which lead to marginalisation and socioeconomic exclusion of PWA," he said.
Furthermore, he said, the event is aimed at amplifying the voice of PWAs so as to ensure that their rights are promoted, protected, fulfilled and respected.
Kanyenda said the event will be conducted annually since the association will enter into a long partnership with the corporate world, government as well as international organisations.
"One way of partnership will be that the winners will be engaged as brand ambassadors for such organisations," he said.
APAM board of trustees member Grace Massa said the promotion of PWAs as role models is also particularly important to ensure their full integration.
"The event is there for us to showcase our skin-deep beauty and untapped talent that is installed in us," she said.
So far, the country has recorded 146 attacks on persons with albinism.