By Linda Likomwa, MANA
This year’s International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) commemoration will be held on June 13 in Chiradzulu District under the theme “Still Standing Strong”.
The theme has been adopted as announced by the United Nations (UN) amidst following attacks and killings of persons with albinism in the country that make others live in fear.
Chief Disability Awareness and Equalisation Officer in the Department of Disability and Elderly Affairs Julian Mabangwe told District Executive Committee (DEC) members Friday that the theme aims at recognising, celebrating and encouraging strength in persons with albinism.
“The theme also recognises that despite all the past and on-going challenges facing persons with albinism, they are still standing strong,” Mabangwe said.
She added that persons with albinism are targeted for their body parts by those who believe that body tissues from persons with albinism have mystical and magical powers to bring luck, power and money.
Mabangwe further said this year’s commemoration objectives include raising awareness and understanding of albinism in order to fight against discrimination and stigma against persons with albinism.
The commemoration is also aimed at providing platform to dispel mythical understanding of albinism in the country.
“It is also aimed at amplifying and strengthening the voice of persons with albinism to relevant stakeholders,” she said.
The district’s Director of Planning and Development Kelvin Harawa assured the department that all preparations for the day will be done and asked council officials to work together towards the event.
Chiradzulu District Association of People with Albinism (APAM) chairperson Benard Makhanga thanked the department for taking the event to Chiradzulu saying communities will understand their importance in development of the district.
Malawi joined the rest of the world in 2015 in commemorating the day. The population of people with albinism in the country is estimated between 10,000 and 15,000. According to Malawi Police Service, at least 165 cases related to persons with albinism have been reported since November 2014 and out of which 23 involve murder.