A human rights activist and former journalist Pat Robert Larubi has taken on the road to deliver the much-needed sunscreen for people with albinism across the country on his motorbike.
Pat who started off his ride from Jinja on Thursday went through Kayunga, Lugazi, Mukono and parts of Wakiso delivering his first batch of sunscreen.
This was followed by another whole day ride from Kampala through Kole, parts of Omoro district and finally making it to Gulu district where he made his final stopover.
“The lockdown came with a number of issues; one was the ban on public transport which meant our people could not move nor access the much-needed sunscreen,” Pat said.
Adding: “I had to devise means to reach them because whereas other people cried for food persons with albinism cried for sunscreen because it’s one of the essential needs to aid their survival.”
Given the fact that most of them live in remote villages, Pat opted to take a ride simply to make sure he can access them wherever they are and secondly make sunscreen available and at no cost.
He says because of the lack of pigmentation, people with albinism may develop sores on their skin that could develop into skin cancer. By providing free sunscreen, people with albinism are saved from the burden of having to worry about skin cancer.
Pat explained that besides giving out the sunscreen the ride was also aimed at creating awareness under the theme #Action4Albinism.
Mirembe Elizabeth Kwagala of Greater Luwero Albinos Association noted that they used to pick most of the sunscreen from their partners in Kampala but because of the lockdown, they had to bear the brunt of the sun and survive without sunscreen.
“When Pat called and told me he was delivering sunscreen to the people with albinism under my care, I was moved by his action of riding on a bike all these kilometers. Finally, he delivered hope for us on his bike,” Elizabeth said.
In Gulu, Lukwiya Jonathan, a youth with albinism could not hide his excitement when he received his package of sunscreen.
“I last got sunscreen in June of 2019 during a celebration to mark the international albinism day. I was lucky to have gotten more tins of sunscreen from a colleague who was leaving the country.
I equally distributed it to my fellows with albinism. Now, this ride by Pat is on a rescue mission for us to overcome the threats posed by lack of this essential item” Lukwiya said.
Pat said he had been inspired to ride his bike for all these kilometers after widespread calls and outcry for sunscreen, personal encounter and experience living with persons with albinism given the tough times that the country was going through.
However, this was the first time in a couple of years that Pat was taking such a long ride on his Bajaj Boxer reg number UEQ596P after he crashed with his Honda bike.
“I am not in a rush nor struggle to win a race. It’s a solo travel program so I will take my time on the road for the sake of my safety. I also want to be able to reach safely and deliver the packages I am carrying to the final destination. I am simply a messenger with a message to take home,” Pat said.
Under his social inclusion campaign dubbed “Action4Albinism”, Pat is raising awareness on albinism, building a support system for PWA in his solo expedition while also helping redefine lives of those who have been grounded by the impact of COVID-19.