Ugochukwu Orji: Oh Yes I live with Albinism!


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
"Howard Washington Thurman

Hello People!

So I first met Mr. Ugo [as well all in the Albinism Advocacy circles call me] in November 2016, at an evident Onome Okagbare made me attend. Funny enough it was the first time I would meet Onome , and then I met the amazing team; Sussy the taster, Daniel the researcher, Ejike the Barrister, Seyi the creative genius and of course, Esther my Albi crush [I hope she never gets to read this].

So back to the gist, this young man is an embodiment of intelligence, creativity and has a great skill when it comes to project management. We had a conversation and I decided to share this with you on why he is the way he is.

I hope you find his story interesting and that you come to appreciate the nation of the Albino child or the Persons with Albinism [someone once said it is for the sake of political correctness].

Here we go, but before then, this is not a pity party!!!


Early Beginnings, Early Awareness

I was born to a young couple from Isuikwuato in Abia State, south east Nigeria oblivious of my skin colour and environment.  I could not have imagined the feelings my parents, especially my mum had on my arrival as I am their first child.  I could remember going through school and having to deal with adjusting to classroom activities.  I became a 'guinea pig ' as it concerned finding solution to my sight issue; but as a child, all these didn't matter much to me.  After me came four other siblings (three out of them have albinism).

 Oh yes! I also live with albinism.

In my growing up days, awareness about albinism wasn't widespread especially among us Africans (still work in progress though).  As a young lad, I started getting conscious of my skin colour when I heard my peers sing the popular 'oyibo pepper' song.  Even at that it still didn't move me.  Then came the rude awakening; in my form 2 in secondary school, as it was called then,  I started getting derogatory comments from my classmates about my eye movement (nystagmus).  Wow!  So I had this all this while, I  thought to myself.  That was the beginning of myself consciousness. 

The battle of the Self

Throughout my teenage years, I dealt with self esteem issues,  I was very sensitive to people around me.  My ears would hear the faintest whispers about me.  I was quick to let go of, in my opinion, undeserving friends. But in all these, I found solace at the comfort of my home and family. 

I gained admission into the university, my first time staying away from family.  “Now life starts”, I said to myself. University environment (University Of Nigeria), as I saw it then, cared less about your existence. I had to struggle with all sorts.  Did I feel inadequate?  Yes I did.  I made personalized adjustments to study. Maybe if I knew what I know now, I would have had it smoother. Eventually, I graduated and had to wait for my NYSC days for it to come. 

Finding my Essence, sharing my Flavor

My service year was quite memorable.  This was where I discovered my true identity and found my essence.  I was given the responsibility of impacting knowledge on secondary school students in sleepy town of Idanre, home to the famous Idanre Hills  in Ondo state.  Simply put, I was a “Corper Teacher” [a term used in describing serving Corps Mmbers whos primary duty was teaching. I derived joy and satisfaction whilst at it. My self esteem rose to the skies;  I became a 'go to ' person for counseling and a role model to many others. I was surrounded by worthy friends who made remarkable impact in my life. I still keep in touch with some of them till date. Post N.Y.S.C, found me in Abuja for work.  My standard was set high and I wasn't ready to short change myself.  Your attitude to yourself determines what you dish out to others. 

Growing In Love with Yourself

From my over four decades experience, life has taught me that self love is the ultimate.  As is the case with many people living with albinism, low self esteem has become a major concern.  I tell you, as someone in your community, that you are beautiful in your skin.  Your soul, created in God's image, is beautiful. There is nothing like ALBINO SOUL.  I encourage you, especially my young friends, to endeavor to LOVE yourselves because love radiates from within you to the rest of the world. According to Lucille Ball, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world". I love this quote from Brigham Young, "Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?”

Right now, I live my dream of serving humanity and carrying out my passion of logistics. The Onome Akinlolu Majaro, OAM Foundation is my God given platform.

Final Words

The term 'Albinism 'is not and should not be considered a derogatory word. It is what it is, partial or total absence of melanin responsible for pigmentation. It does not make you less intelligent than you would have been. Whatever you set your mind to achieve, please follow it through putting into consideration any possible health hazard. My dear friends, I leave you with this quote from Howard Washington Thurman, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."  

I wish you all a life filled with self love and positive impact on humanity. 


Ugochukwu Gilbert Orji. - Facebook. 
@yugogilbert  - Instagram. 
@ugo_gilbert - twitter.

#BeyondTheComplexion #Albinism #AlbinismAwareness #OAMFoundation #Albinism_Not_Disability #ThisIsMyStory #NoMelanin

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  1. I would always always love this piece.especially this quote. It sums it all up perfectly.
    Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
    Stay strong