Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a poignant ceremony held at the Reformed Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Koidu City on Sunday, members of the Albinism Royal Foundation (ARF) gathered to bid a final farewell to Mary Sia Yarjah. The solemn occasion aimed to dispel the widespread misconception that albinos, like Mary, never die but instead mysteriously vanish.
Mary, the younger sister of the Foundation’s Secretary and Advocacy Officer, Ibrahim Yarjah, passed away on December 10, 2023, at the age of 20, following a brief illness.
In a thought-provoking sermon drawing from the books of Job and St. John, Reverend Mani N. Mordicco addressed the prevailing myth, assuring mourners that albinos do not disappear but, like everyone else, experience the inevitability of death. Quoting Scriptures from the Holy Bible regarding the resurrection of Jesus, he emphasized the belief in the continuation of life after death.
The Reverend underscored the importance of salvation and encouraged the audience not to be ashamed of their faith, emphasizing that death is not the end but the beginning of real life.
In a heartfelt tribute, Pastor Sarah Ngaiwa, the National Executive Director for ARF, highlighted the purpose of the ceremony: to pay respects to Mary and challenge the unfounded belief. Pastor Ngaiwa emphasized the profound loss Mary’s death represents for her family, the foundation, and the entire country.
“Mary, a promising young woman with aspirations to study law, had twice attempted the West African Senior School Certificate Examination,” the pastor said, highlighting Mary’s intelligence, love, and caring attitude, which made her a cherished member of the foundation.
The ceremony not only served as a tribute to Mary but also as a platform to challenge misconceptions surrounding albinism. The Albinism Royal Foundation aims to continue fostering understanding, acceptance, and support for the albino community, emphasizing that they, like anyone else, face the natural course of life and death. PSN/27/12/2023