The first ever edition of Mr and Miss Albinism East Africa brought together 30 contestants from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in Kenya’s capital Nairobi to crown young people with albinism.
Through its motto, “Beauty Beyond the Skin”, the contest is not just a beauty pageant, but a way to raise awareness and inclusion for people who remain the target of sometimes deadly stigma in Africa.
Organized by the Albinism Society of Kenya with partners in Uganda and Tanzania, the contest aims to demystify the condition of people living with albinism and affirm their inherent dignity while challenging myths, misconceptions and negative beliefs around the disorder.
The main event was a culmination of auditions held in several countries and a 10-day boot camp where the 30 final participants trained to improve their modelling skills. The contest was aimed at facilitating positive interaction between people with albinism and society.
“It is about self-esteem. I gained more confidence addressing the big crowd during the event. I was just having so much fun,” said 21-year-old Sherleen Tunai Lumumba, one of the contestants from Kenya.
“I made a lot of new friends from different African countries and this event helped me to create new links with people living with albinism.”
Twenty-year-old Silas Shedrack from Tanzania and 19-year-old Maryanne Muigai from Kenya were crowned the winners. They received cash prizes and were named ambassadors for the partner organisations for a year.