MHRRC held an open day to sensitize communities on the rights of persons with albinism at Chowe Primary School on Saturday where Senior Chief Chowe said MHRCC’s project Cultivating Environment for the Promotion and Protection of Rights of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (CEPPAM) has helped raise awareness on the rights of persons with albinism in the area.
“There is a need for communities to be aware that a person with albinism is equal to every human being,” he added.
Chowe observed that before MHRRC interventions persons with albinism were facing a lot of challenges such as stigma, deaths threat, insults, and failure to do farming and other productive activities because they were living in fear.
“The project has significantly raised awareness on issues of albinism and this has seen a reduction in violation of rights of persons with albinism in the district,” he said while expressing worry over the project’s exit soon.
Chowe hailed MHRRC for introducing CEPPAM in Mangochi but asked the human rights organization to lobby for more resources from various donors so that the interventions continue as the project is ending in March 2023.
“Although it is mentioned that the project is coming to an end this year, I would like to urge community leaders, parents, and other stakeholders to work hand in hand in providing security to persons with albinism to ensure that community structures are strong to sustain the interventions,” he said.
Chairperson for the Association of Persons with Albinism in Mangochi, Jawadu London said through the MHRRC has raised awareness such that persons with albinism are elected in different decision-making positions such as Village Development Committees and Area Development Committees and other community-level structures.
“This has helped to reduce issues of stigma in the communities,” he added as he called for more interventions in promoting the rights of people with albinism and strengthening their security by the construction of safe houses.
London noted that Mangochi district has four safe houses for persons with albinism out of many households with people with albinism saying “This is not enough to provide them with security”.
MHRRC Executive Director, Emma Kaliya expressed the organization’s commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of people with albinism.
“Through the project, MHRRC has sensitized people on the rights of people with albinism, built capacity to duty bearers at community and district level to empower them how they should handle issues to do with people with albinism of top of raising awareness on laws that protect people with albinism and all forms of disabilities,” she added.
One of the community members, Ndasiyaga Ali, from Chowe 2 Village, said she learned a lot through the awareness and would encourage fellow community members to human rights.
She said there was a need to provide adequate protection for people with albinism against attacks and dispute all misconceptions about their life
The event which was held under the theme ‘United in Making Our Voices Heard’ had a line of activities such as traditional dances, drama, and dialogue sessions where duty bearers explained their roles in promoting and protecting the rights of people with albinism.
MHRRC in Collaboration with Christian Blind Mission (CBM) is implementing the CEPPAM project in the country with funding from the European Union (EU) in six districts including Mangochi, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Ntcheu, Lilongwe, and Dowa.