Businesswoman improves lives of people with albinism

17 Mar, 2023 - 00:03 0 Views
Businesswoman improves lives of people with albinism Mrs Talent Madziwo CEO and founder of Royal Secrets Cosmetics

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

A Botswana-based Zimbabwean businesswoman has started a trust that assists about 200 people with albinism across the country with sunscreen to help prevent serious skin problems.

Mrs Talent Madziwo (36) who is the chief executive and founder of Royal Secrets Cosmetics — a network marketing company that manufactures and distributes cosmetics and fragrances established the Royal Family Trust to take care of the needs of 200 people with albinism in the country.

Besides sunscreen the beneficiaries also receive groceries and other accessories every month.

People with albinism lack melanin in their skin and are at increased risk of getting sunburn and skin cancer.

In Zimbabwe and other African countries, skin problems resulting from sunburn are common among people with albinism.

Most sunscreen products available in Zimbabwe are imported from South Africa and are expensive.

Retailers sell the lotion at high prices that range between US$22 and US$35 for a 250-millilitre bottle of sunscreen lotion.

This is too expensive for most people with albinism who use a tube that only lasts a few weeks with intensive usage.

Even with donations from welfare organisations, the lotions are still not widely accessible for many Zimbabweans living with albinism, who number an estimated 70 000.

Mrs Madziwo, who is emerging as the country’s leading fragrance and beauty products mogul running an organisation that engages over 10  000 women selling Royal Secrets products to sustain themselves, said she formed the trust to assist people living with albinism who suffer from actinic (solar-induced) skin damage — freckles and sunburn to various skin cancers which shorten their life spans considerably.

“We have a trust fund that assists 200 people with albinism across the country with sunscreen that protects their skin from the sun’s radiation and slows down damage and infections to their skin. Besides that, we also donate groceries and settle medical bills for those who need medical assistance,” she said.

Mrs Madziwo said she has a passion for people with albinism as the majority can’t afford sunscreen to help take care of their skin.

“The trust was started out of compassion after we realised how expensive sunscreen lotion is and yet someone with albinism needs it every day to avoid skin cancer. One bottle which lasts for a month costs over US$25 and some can’t afford it and so they end up getting skin cancer. It’s also a way of fighting the stigma around people with albinism,” she said.

Mrs Madziwo said she started the company together with her husband back in 2012 in Kwekwe.

“We’re based in Gaborone, Botswana as we’re growing this company but we formed it in 2012 in Kwekwe from humble beginnings. We started as a small business selling perfumes and the business later grew by market demand. It was formed out of a passion for beauty and skincare products and we’re taking that passion to assist people with albinism. We manufacture perfumes and beauty products which we distribute through a network of sales agents across Southern Africa,” she said.

Mrs Madziwo who has a degree in Labour Relations and a Diploma in Marketing Management from the Institute of Personnel Management Zimbabwe (IPMZ) said over 10 000 women from all walks of life are benefiting from the company.

“We supply them with perfumes and skin care products at factory prices for re-sale to sustain themselves and their families. Anyone with a zeal for business can join. We have branches countrywide and also in Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Botswana,” said the mother of three.

As she joined the nation in celebrating Women’s Month, Mrs Madziwo urged women to take up empowerment opportunities instead of waiting to receive money or aid.

Mrs Madziwo said she is inspired by the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa who assists women in all communities across the country.

“The First Lady is my source of inspiration. I aspire to be like her in assisting the girl child, the women and the disadvantaged people in our society,” she said.

Mrs Madziwo said she believes that when a woman is empowered, she is uplifted and is able to fend for herself and her family.

“Teach a woman how to catch fish, don’t give her fish all the time. Educate a woman on life skills so that she can be financially stable. When you train a woman you train a nation. Women must be assisted in reaching their full potential and if they’re empowered, they will never look back,” she said.

People with albinism in Zimbabwe and on the continent still face great difficulties because of the high intensity of the sun’s radiation.

In addition, people with albinism in most African countries suffer from prejudice and are often rejected by their families.

In more extreme cases, many have been killed and their bodies dismembered for ritual purposes.

In some parts of Africa, some believe people with albinism possess magical powers.

Rights activists for people with albinism say there is a need to improve access to skin care products for this population and promote policies that could make sunscreen easier to get and more affordable.

For years, rights organisations in the country have been lobbying the Government to reduce the price of sunscreen lotions and even make them free in health facilities.

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