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“Master of my own fate and captain of my soul”

How an albino woman became an international model

The story of Sira Samoura from Mali

Sitan Coulibaly, Voice Linking, Learning and Communications Officer at OXFAM – Mali, had a conversation with Sira Samoura and wrote down her remarkable story … In her own words:

My name is Sira SAMOURA, Miss Albinos Show 2017 in Mali and student at the Institute of Medicine and Odontostomatology. I had the opportunity to participate in the very first edition of Miss Albinos in Mali organized by the Association Malienne pour la Protection des Albinos (AMPA – Malian Association for the Protection of Albino). In the beginning, I did not imagine at all that I would be elected, because, as you know, we people living with albinism face all kinds of discrimination. Therefore I was scared, but I had the support of my whole family as well as SAMBA ABOU ARAFA TOURE, a Malian costume designer. He was a real moral and physical support from the beginning to the end, providing me with all kinds of training. I dare say that he, my family and the members of AMPA, were my major source of motivation.

After the election and thanks to the training in modelling provided by Real Fashion Agency of SAMBA ABOU ARAFA TOURE, I had the opportunity to join the modelling agency of Fadi Maiga in Mali.

From there, I said to myself: why not try my luck at the National Miss ORTM / Miss Mali competitions?

Indeed, in 2018, I became 1st runner-up in the Miss Bamako competition and received an incentive prize as well as the prize for best traditional outfit during the grand finale. I am currently the face of the Borthini couture brand by Fadi Maiga.

Discrimination, marginalization and non-acceptance are part of the daily life of people living with a disability. This is sometimes also due to our families as our parents find it difficult to accept us.

But personally, I can say that I manage to face these discriminations, and also to change the look of some persons towards people living with albinism because I have not only the unconditional support of my family, but I also rely on my status as an international model and fashion muse.

I can say that my life has changed radically since I started working in the world of modelling. I participated in major fashion shows and festivals in Mali and abroad. I was the face of the second edition of Fiesta (festival d´ici et d´ailleurs) and I also participated in Siama (Salon International D’Artisanat Du Mali). I had the chance to participate in the 14th edition of Afrik Fashion show in Ivory Coast where I wore the designs of some top Malian stylists, among others Fadi Maiga, Raki Thiam, Sora Camas etc.… as well as international fashion designers like the well-known PatheO, Ciss Saint moïse, Diana Gadie and Moustaff Traoré.

I would like to be not only a voice for all people living with albinism, but also a guardian of their inclusion by creating my own business that will influence and give space to women leaders  in their fight to support our rights. This will give me more weight in my inclusion campaign for people like me. For that purpose I would like to create an NGO or a foundation aiming at supervising and supporting disadvantaged people throughout the country, or even Africa ……


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