Stanbic Bank has donated sun protection products worth US$34 000 to the Albino Charity Organization of Zimbabwe (ALCOZ) as part of its annual Corporate Social Investment (CSI) contribution towards the welfare of people living with albinism.
The financial services institution donated 1 000 units of sunscreen lotions; 1 000 units of antibacterial soap; 1 000 units of antiseptic liquid, 1 000 units of lip balm and 1 000 sunhats, as well as spectacles for 12 beneficiaries.
This year’s donation marks the fifth consecutive year that Stanbic Bank has assisted ALCOZ as the financial services institution continues to play its part in cushioning people living with albinism against the weather elements, particularly the sun.
Stanbic Bank Head of Marketing and Communications, Palmer Mugavha, said the plight of people living with albinism is often taken for granted as most people are yet to fully appreciate the consequences of exposing their skin to the sun in addition to other challenges they face.
“As Stanbic Bank we fully appreciate the vulnerability of people living with albinism as well as the economic and social challenges some face daily. The bank is all too aware that some are ostracized and stigmatized over and above the fact that the sun protection products are priced well beyond the reach of many,” said Mugavha.
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.
He said while this donation is now a fixed calendar for the bank, this year’s contribution is even more essential as it is coming against a background of the Coronavirus which has worsened an already challenging economic situation.
“The prevailing economic environment coupled with the menacing COVID-19 pandemic which has eroded people’s income and revenue streams has moved Stanbic Bank to stand in that financial gap and support ALCOZ and its members with these products,” added Mugavha.
People living with albinism need protection from the harmful effects of the sun owing to the lack of melanin in their skin which serves as a shield from the sun. They rely on sunscreens lotions, special oils and lip balm for protection from the sun.
Last year Stanbic partnered Zimplats to work with the mining company’s “Beyond the Skin” initiative and purchased spectacles for individuals and groups identified by Zimplats. Beyond the Skin’s focus is supporting people living with albinism.
The partnership saw 27 people living with albinism from Binga, Hwange and Lupane districts in Matabeleland North Province receiving spectacles and sunscreen lotions.
“In terms of the acquisition of spectacles, we have worked with the same partners we worked with last year. Therefore, we would like to thank Zimplats for arranging for the beneficiaries of spectacles to get their eyes screened before we could make the necessary purchases. We also appreciate Optinova’s assistance by providing discounted rates for all the eyewear we purchase for this cause. Such partnerships help in creating greater impact and we are truly grateful”, said Mugavha.
ALCOZ Founder and Director Mrs Loveness Mainato welcomed the donations saying Stanbic Bank was proving to be an “all-weather friend” especially during this COVID-19 pandemic era.
Mainato said the organisation has not been spared by the effects of the skewed economic environment worsened by COVID-19, and ALCOZ knew that support from its various donors would be difficult this year as many businesses were not performing well.
“We are deeply touched by Stanbic Bank’s gesture under this COVID-19 scenario. We were thrilled beyond measure when we were told that Stanbic is ready to assist us as they have been doing for the last four years. The heat has been overwhelming and it makes us worry that our children might end up with skin cancers. This donation has indeed come at a serious point of need. Many thanks to Stanbic Bank and their partners,” said Mainato.