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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Call to protect and uphold rights for people with albinism

Story by Tamuka Charakupa

A call has been made for society to shun discrimination against persons with albinism, amid growing concern over the violation of their basic rights.

Checheche-based mother of five, Mrs Chipo Nayeni, has seen it all, and as she speaks, she reveals deep scars of stigma buried in her heart.

“I was born with albinism, and because of the condition, I ended up staying with my grandmother who accepted me as I am. The discrimination which I suffered forced me to drop out of school.

“However, I got married and had five children. Hell broke loose when my husband became mentally ill, which resulted in him burning our house. I was then chased away from my husband’s family from their homestead, which drove me to Checheche.

“Ever since, I have been living from one house to the other. The main reason being people do not see me as a human being, as such, I was always being chased away until I ended up in the streets with my children. Now I am living a better life because a well-wisher built me a 3-bedroom house,” she said.

Chipo’s mother, Mrs. Daina Mugobo, also suffered the same ordeal, and only a few understood what she was going through.

“I was blamed for having given birth to her. This pains me to this day, as to why people do not view them just as they are. This is a condition which no one chooses,” she said.

“We should teach our children non-discrimination from a tender age. Just as it is said that it takes a village to raise a child, the same should be applied through teaching and sensitising them of the values of Ubuntu,” said one of the community people.

Another added, “We witnessed her suffering. From time to time, she would go homeless and struggle to find a place to settle with her family, which reveals how badly our society views albinism and disabilities at large. This should change.”

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Albino Association Chipinge Chairperson, Mr Fungai Chizana, is convinced that the Zimbabwe Disability Policy will address these challenges, adding that it should start at the community level.

“We want to thank the President Cde E.D Mnangagwa for boldly declaring that no one shall be left behind. The coming on board of the National Disability Policy is a starting point. We are, however, still concerned by the fact that we have no representation at the local level, in the national assembly, and only to be represented in the Senate.

“We need dedicated representation at the grassroots to ensure that we foster a bottom-up approach. The grassroots are in touch with the real challenges faced by our community,” she said.

The government has introduced the Zimbabwe Disability Policy, which, among other issues, addresses the aspects of social, political, and economic inclusion of the vulnerable group in line with the government’s policy of leaving no one and no place behind.

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