Courageous African Women with Albinism Celebrate their Mount Kilimanjaro Climb, Energized to Continue their Quest to Raise Global Awareness

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Six Women with Albinism have overcome all odds on their climb up Africa’s highest peak. The Climb for Albinism will propel their cause to new heights as the climbers discovered new strength to help persons with Albinism around the world live free and happy lives.

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I am proud to be a woman with albinism who stood at Uhuru Peak, and this is only the beginning of us amplifying our power and that of other persons with albinism around the world.

Six women with albinism today celebrated the culmination of their Mount Kilimanjaro ‘Climb for Albinism’. The expedition is part of their inspiring campaign to champion awareness on the condition and rally for actions to end discrimination and human rights violations against persons with albinism.

All six climbers went beyond what they thought was possible and team member Nodumo Ncomanzi summited Uhuru Peak, representing her team at Africa’s highest point.

“I am proud to be a woman with albinism who stood at Uhuru Peak,” said Nodumo. “My teammates were my source of strength. I would not have made it to the summit if we had not climbed together. This is only the beginning of us amplifying our power and that of other persons with albinism around the world.”

The six remarkable women - Jane Waithera (Kenya), Mariam Staford (Tanzania), Maah Keita (Senegal), Dr. Onyinye Edi (Nigeria), Nodumo Ncomanzi (Zimbabwe) and Regina Mary (South Africa) started the historic ascent on October 1, 2018. Each climber pushed their limits and made it as far as physically possible, overcoming altitude sickness and other challenges.

Expedition leader and co-founder of Climb For Albinism, Elia Saikaly said: “after careful assessment of each climber at Kibo camp (4,700 metres, 15,400 feet above sea level), the leadership determined that two climbers, Jane Waithera and Nodumo Ncomanzi were best positioned, strength-wise, by high altitude mountain standards, to attempt the summit,” adding that the decisions were made with each climber’s personal safety in mind and each climber’s blessing. Jane had to turn back just 20m (65Ft) from the summit due to a knee injury, but she is in great spirits and was thrilled to climb beyond 19,000 ft (5790m). Nodumo summited at 19,341 ft (5,895m) on behalf of the team Oct.7, 2018.

All of the women said the physical and mental strain endured while scaling up the mountain taught them empowering and enduring lessons about themselves and their cause.

“Climbing the mountain made me identify the physical representation of how painful the lives of persons with albinism are,” said Regina Mary. “The struggle to reach the next base-camp reminded me of how hard it can be to keep trying to pursue my dreams as a person with albinism. I also realized that it’s not enough to tell a person what they are supposed to do to be successful. Everyone deserves help. Grabbing someone’s hand and walking with them is the real achievement.”

Mariam Staford, who advocates against violence on persons with albinism left Mount Kilimanjaro feeling empowered: “I am happy that I challenged myself and realized that I am able to conquer anything. I am also thrilled that this experience brought new friends into my life and empowered me with the dignity and power to be who I am.”

Jane Waithera who advocates for, and mentors, persons with albinism in East Africa said: “For me, this is one of the greatest moments of my life and I am proud to be part of making history and promoting a better world for persons with albinism. Every step that I took towards the top was a step to zero stigma and discrimination towards persons with albinism.”

Dr. Onyinye Edi said: “I have never done anything as physically tasking as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I learned that I am stronger than I think.”

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is as an extreme altitude mountain, which takes a toll on people who attempt it; a factor which led Mr. Saikaly to applaud the courage of the six women.

“The climb was a significant struggle for the entire team, symbolic of the challenges persons with albinism face in their everyday lives. Mount Kilimanjaro threw just about everything at us and in the end, the Climb for Albinism flag was raised on the roof of Africa. I’m incredibly proud of each team member for undertaking such a tremendous challenge and for standing together for such an important cause.”

A final documentary on the Climb will be released on the next International Albinism Awareness Day - June 13, 2019.

To learn more about the climb, visit:

For press inquiries to arrange an interview with a teammate, please contact: Noel Wandera wanderanoel0(at) or joy.muruku(at) For North American media inquiries contact Colin Trethewey Colin(at)

Please visit the team’s social media sites: Facebook and Instagram.

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Colin Trethewey
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