Lady Seloka fondly known as ‘Lady Vitiligo’ a vitiligo activist has made a call for sponsorship of the upcoming annual World Vitiligo Day commemorations to be held in Maun on June 25.
The day is commemorated annually with the aim of raising awareness of the social stigma and mental challenges faced by those affected by vitiligo. The commemoration also seeks to drum up efforts for vitiligo healthcare education.
Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin loses its pigment cells called melanocytes. Up to 1-2% of the world’s population is affected by vitiligo. This year the day will be commemorated under the theme ‘acceptance, treatment, love’.
This year the commemoration will be held at the Big Tree Valley Hotel. The commemoration hosted by Lady Vitiligo in partnership with the Maun Business Community will be the second to be held in Maun after it was previously held in Gaborone in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The commemoration is targeting people living with vitiligo, their families, and various stakeholders involved in the management of vitiligo and the community at large. The idea is to have an awareness walk on the 24th of June followed by the main event on the following day.
Seloka has however called for sponsors to collaborate with them to make the event a success. She indicated that they need support in terms of meals and printed t-shirts among other things.
Speaking in an interview, the coordinator decried that Vitiligo is less recognised by the government unlike other skin conditions like albinism which are prioritized and given enough support.
Seloka noted that many other people living with vitiligo from all over the country are willing to attend the commemoration and they will need to be assisted with accommodation and transportation. She pleaded with those who are willing to support to come forth.
According to her, people living with vitiligo (vitiligans) often experience frequent negative remarks from the community leading to low self-esteem. Seloka added that people living with vitiligo feel less confident when they frequently experience people acting thoughtlessly or unkindly towards them.
“The condition can be psychologically devastating as many patients feel isolated and devastated by its impact in their personal and professional lives,” she lamented.
“We want to raise awareness, educate the public about vitiligo. We also want to empower people living with the condition to accept, come out and be confident in their skin and be bold enough to pursue their dreams without being intimidated,” she said.