Only Skin

Photography by Belinda Mason

 ‘Those people who are still thinking that people with Albinism is good for medicine, but we are human beings. I am living with low vision but there are things I can do. People look at you as maybe they find disability in a person they think of the whole person cannot do anything, Growing up in my family, it wasn’t that much of an impact because I had two families, my mothers and my fathers. On my fathers side it was difficult for them to accept me …and on my mothers side it wasn’t that much difficult because so many children with Albinism they have been killed … I am the only one in my family left with Albinism, so it wasn’t that difficult for them because once they decide to keep me alive, because all the other people with Albinism that were born around my age were dead.

The point that I want to make here is that I feel in my heart that I experienced many types of abuse in my life. I am experiencing financial abuse physical abuse. Emotional abuse. So, what used to happen is that I used to fight with my husband and he used to beat me, emotionally inside me, I remember one time when he was busy insulting me I had this problem of having a seizure, and so I fell on a hot oven heater, and it burnt my leg and so I was hospitalized. Financial abuse. We are not both working but with finance it’s a problem cause we can’t sit down and plan our things properly. One is using their or own money, we don’t combine our money as a family. We use the money, like if its me, I use it the way I want it, the want, I want my things, but it’s a burden to me because I need to see that the family is well served like, if its toiletries, I need to buy these things for everyone in the house, what ever you use what ever you do I must see to it that they have that things. For me its hurting, because I can’t plan my money to buy myself anything I want to buy for myself, so it becomes a burden to me. I have got two children, so to survive all this because I am still in the marriage, I always tell myself that I am living for my children to see to it that they become happy, and to live to see their future because I can’t leave them, I can’t abandon them, So this is the pain I live with everyday. I must manage to see that they are happy, and I put their happiness in front of mine. So that is the problem in my life. I can’t …for myself I can’t practice I always put others peoples happiness first. …

The impact of my disability is that it is not simple to get a job. People think that if I hire a disabled person, maybe their work will be slow, or maybe she or he can’t do whatever she is told to do. This is the problem we are facing now as disabled people. I come here to this community, I can’t say they have a problem with me because I have opened a small business selling snacks and sweets. So that a lot because I use their money effectively and I have got no negative attitudes from them.

In South Africa they think if a person is disabled then, he or she need to get disability grant. That money is not enough to live, because a disabled person needs to have a family, to have children and those children need to be schooled and educated and in the future have jobs too. So you can’t feed your family on a disability allowance? Also needs a house, I think my house is too small for me. I want a bigger house , be beautiful, be attractive, be proud and look at me as a normal person, not as a disabled person. And think, poor person she can’t do anything with a house because is has a disability. I need to be in a society be proud, we should be proud, to say ‘Oh, my parents gave me what ever they could and wanted’

I think it all comes from the family first, because the family need to accept you and when you grow up, you gain self confidence from the family, yes outside there is a lot of attitude …I’m not different from other people, its only the skin.

When it comes to violence I think, women, What I do myself I measure the abuse because if the abuse is say .. but if its low I study it and measure it. Always when it happens, if it happens once, if it happens now and again, its hard to it happens and it get recorded. Then I think of this and that is going to happen. And another thing that can help abused women is to talk about it. We should get a friend is the one that you can trust, that is what I and also it reduces the burden on that person.’

 

– Claudia, South Africa