STANBIC Bank has donated a variety of sun protection products worth $140 000 to members of the Albino Charity Organisation of Zimbabwe (ALCOZ).
The financial services institution donated 1 000 units of sunscreen lotions; 1 000 units of antibacterial soap; 1 000 units of lip balm and 1 000 sunhats. The donation comes as the prices of goods and commodities, inclusive of the sun protection products, continue sky rocketing out of the reach of this community due to the prevailing harsh economic environment.
ALCOZ has been a major beneficiary of Stanbic Bank’s quest to meet the sun protection needs of people living with albinism over the last four years and this year the bank has doubled last year’s allocation for each product.
Stanbic Bank Non-Executive Board member, Mr. Muchakanakirwa Mkanganwi said the four-year partnership continuously opens the institution’s eyes to the circumstances people living with albinism find themselves in due to environmental, social and economic factors.
All these factors guide us to understand their needs and the support required for them to pursue their dreams and live their lives as normally as possible despite the adverse conditions,” said Mkanganwi
People living with albinism need protection from the harmful effects of the sun owing to their lack of melanin which serves as a shield from the sun.
They rely on sunscreens lotions and special oils and lip balm for protection from the sun and the rising prices make the acquisition of such products next to impossible.
Mkanganwi said Stanbic has extended its focus and continues to explore different partnerships in an effort to alleviate the diverse challenges affecting people living with albinism.
“Through our recently established partnership with (mining company) Zimplats, we have taken the initiative to purchase spectacles for individuals and groups as identified by Zimplats through their “Beyond the Skin” initiative which is well aligned with our focus of supporting people living with albinism,” said Mkanganwi.
The partnership saw 27 people living with albinism fromBinga, Hwange and Lupane districts in Matabeleland North Province receiving spectacles and sunscreen lotions.
Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition which occurs worldwide regardless of ethnicity or gender. It commonly results in the lack of melanin in the hair, skin, and eyes, causing vulnerability to sun exposure.
Mkanganwi noted with concern that people living with albinism also faced critical threat of skin cancers especially if they fail to access the required sun protection products such as sunhats and sunscreen lotions, hence,the financial institution will continue to play its part in mitigating the danger.
“Wisdom of old dictates that prevention is better than cure, hence, in our efforts to ensure all-year-round protection against such fatal effects of UV light, we have doubled our annual donation from 500 units to 1 000 units of the basics required by ALCOZ, Nivea sunscreen lotions, lip balms, Dettol soaps and sunhats.”
ALCOZ Founder and Director Mrs.Loveness Mainato thanked Stanbic Bank for its unwavering support particularly in this harsh economic environment.
Mainato said it was heartening to know that a big corporate entity such as Stanbic Bank had people living with albinism at heart and urged other corporates to follow suit.
“Stanbic Bank has just proved that it is not just about banking but has people living with albinism among its circle of friends. The fact that they have doubled their supply to us thisyear despite the economic hardships is a source of comfort for us and we are so grateful to the Stanbic Bank team.
“One of our biggest challenge is the cancerous wounds our members sustain due to lack of sun protection products and this donation will go a long way in alleviating this,” said Mainato.
The ceremony was punctuated bya play and songs from ALCOZ members whose theme centredaround the need to recognizethat people with albinism are just like anyone else with the only difference being the skin.