Lokesh Ramavathula, in the second grade, is a student at Asian Aid’s Blind School who was born albino. An albino is a person having a congenital absence of pigment in the skin and hair, caused by the lack of melanin in the body.
Albinos are easily identified by their pale skin, white hair, and light colored eyes. This lack of pigmentation makes them more vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. Albinos also have difficulty seeing things in bright light or complete darkness.
Lokesh, nine years old, belongs to the Lambadi tribe–one of the oldest tribes in India. Traditionally nomadic, in recent times they have changed their lifestyle and settled in villages. Lambadis identify distinctly with their colorful dress covered in glass and are famous for making beautiful jewelry out of beads.
Lokesh’s parents are both day laborers who do odd jobs at construction sites and with road repair to earn a living. A few years ago his father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Fortunately the cancer was detected early on and underwent treatment. In time the treatment took affect and he went into remission.
Having such an illness will always impact the family in many ways—including finances. With funds being low and wages meager, there wasn’t enough to care for the special needs of Lokesh.
Having heard of the family’s struggles, a teacher at the Blind School spoke with Lokesh’s parents about having him attend. Without hesitation Lokesh’s father enrolled him and everyday his special needs are cared for. He is full of joy to learn more about God and how much he loves us. He even sits right up front during church with his favorite instrument in hand—the tambourine.